* Britain drafting resolution that would ease UN sanctions
* Vote could come as early as next week - diplomats
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Britain plans to submit a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council early next week that would start easing sanctions against Libya and establish a modest U.N. mission there, diplomats said on Friday.
The plan, diplomats said, is to have the council begin lifting six-month old punitive measures imposed on the country this year when Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overseeing a crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators across the country.
“The idea is that (Britain) will circulate a draft on Monday,” a council diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Another diplomat said he hoped the council could vote on the draft in the course of next week.
The resolution will also follow recommendations from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who asked the council to create a mandate for a U.N. mission to assist Libya’s transitional leadership in a number of ways, including restoring public order and security and preparing for democratic elections.
The initial mandate would be valid for three months, Ban said in a letter to the 15-nation council. The mission would not include peacekeepers or U.N. police to help maintain order in the country. Ban said, however, that the U.N. mission would assist the government in promoting human rights.
One diplomat said the draft resolution would not call for an end to the no-fly zone over the North African state. But it will include an easing of the arms embargo to enable the Libyan authorities to get some weapons needed to maintain security.
Otherwise, the arms embargo would remain in place.
Sanctions against the Libyan National Oil Corporation and the Libyan central bank would be lifted, diplomats said, in the interest of promoting economic recovery in the OPEC member state.
Little resistance to the resolution is expected in the council, diplomats say, since nearly all members have concluded that Gaddafi is effectively no longer in control of Libya.
Russia and China, which worked hard to prevent the council from waiving certain sanctions to aid the rebel forces during the Libyan civil war, are expected to support the resolution, diplomats say. Moscow and Beijing were highly critical of the U.N.-approved NATO intervention in Libya. (Editing by Xavier Briand)