Rifkind praises UN Libyan vote

By Jessica Elgot, March 18, 2011
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Muammar Gaddafi had promised to fight international intervention in Libya

Muammar Gaddafi had promised to fight international intervention in Libya

Libya has declared a ceasefire to comply with a United Nations resolution passed last night.

The announcement of a ceasefire by foreign minister Moussa Koussa came as Prime Minister David Cameron said RAF warplanes would be in places in the "coming hours".

Former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind praised the UN Security Council’s vote in favour of a no fly zone over Libya and air strikes against Muammer Gaddafi’s troops.He told the BBC: "Without action of this kind, Benghazi would have been a bloodbath. By the standards of the last 20 years, this is a remarkable vote. This is a tremendous morale booster for Libyans, not just in Benghazi."

Sir Malcolm has been one of the UK’s most vociferous advocates of military intervention to depose Gaddafi. During Prime Minister’s Question on Wednesday the MP urged the government to encourage Egyptian troops to enter Libya and prevent Gaddafi from taking the rebel stronghold town of Benghazi.

After the vote at the UN Security Council last night, which was co-sponsored by Britain, France and Lebanon, French prime minister François Fillon said that France would begin preparations for military action within hours.

Ten members voted in favour, with five abstaining, including China, Russia and Germany. The resolution ruled out putting troops on the ground.

The decision was greeted with wild celebrations on the streets of Benghazi but Gaddafi called the decision “craziness, madness, arrogance."

Last updated: 1:52pm, March 18 2011