UPDATE 2-UN council condemns force against Libya protesters

Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:51am GMT

* Council calls for national dialogue in Libya

* Libya's U.N. mission divided for and against Gaddafi (Writes through with council statement)

By Patrick Worsnip

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council upbraided Libya's rulers on Tuesday for using force against peaceful demonstrators and called for those responsible for such attacks to be held to account.

A statement agreed by the 15-nation council after a day of debate on the clashes in the oil-producing North African country expressed grave concern at the situation there and the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

It called for an immediate end to violence and "steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue."

The nine-paragraph statement came hours after a defiant Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's leader, vowed to crush a growing revolt which has seen eastern regions break free of his 41-year rule and brought deadly unrest to the capital, Tripoli.

The council met at the request of Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who along with most other staff at Libya's U.N. mission announced on Monday they were no longer working for Gaddafi and represented only the country's people. They called for the veteran leader's overthrow.

But in a bizarre diplomatic twist, Libya's U.N. Ambassador Abdurrahman Shalgham, who was away from New York on Monday and did not sign onto the anti-Gaddafi statement, arrived at the Security Council in mid-morning after discussions had started.   Continued...

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