arab league - Reuters - February 27 2011
Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi talks to Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa (R) at the airport in Sirte, in this file photo taken March 26, 2010. Photo by Reuters
Text size

Arab League foreign ministers met on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss a draft resolution
rejecting foreign military intervention in Libya.

At the meeting, Arab foreign ministers called on the Libyan leadership to take "brave" decisions to stop violence and respect the "legitimate rights" of the people.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, presiding over the opening session of the meeting in Cairo, also said the Libya crisis was an internal Arab affair, stressing that the Arabs did
not want any "foreign intervention".

He called on the ministers to stand in silence in memory of Arabs killed in a wave of pro-reform protests that have swept the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia from power and are challenging the rule of others in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen.

"We hope the Libyan people can overcome these difficult conditions, and that the Libyan leaders take brave stands to stop bloodshed and respect the legitimate desires and rights of
its people to live in a free, democratic nation," Zebari said.

Although the meeting is expected to reiterate the body's condemnation of Gadhafi, the draft resolution will also stress "the unity and integrity of Libyan soil."

Earlier in the day, Ambassador Ahmed Ben Helli, deputy secretary general of the Arab League said "The Arab League, at the level of permanent delegates, on Tuesday introduced a resolution to be submitted to the ministers of foreign affairs during their meeting ... to reject any foreign military intervention in Libya."

Amr Moussa, the head of the league, called for an end to the violence in Libya last week, saying the demands of Arab people for change are legitimate. Moussa further advocated talks, not confrontation.

The league has suspended the Libyan delegation's participation in the Cairo-based body, as condemnation for the violence Gadhafi's forces have used to quell popular unrest.

Demonstrations began in Libya two weeks ago, amidst a wave of protests that has overtaken the Arab world, leading to the ousting of leaders in both Tunisia and Egypt.

Libya's leader, Muammar Gadhafi has responded with the most violent crackdown yet, with some reports indicating as many as 2000 deaths. The international community has condemned Gadhafi, calling on him to step down, however, the leader has flatly refused, claiming "the people love me".