Arab League leader opposes Libya attack

March 20, 2011 at 5:19 PM
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CAIRO, March 20 (UPI) -- The coalition supporting attacks on Libya drew criticism Sunday as the Arab League's leader denounced the campaign's scope.

Secretary-General Amr Moussa, in Cairo, said he would call a new Arab League meeting to reconsider its approval of the intervention, The Washington Post reported.

"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone," he said in a statement carried by Egypt's Middle East News Agency. "And what we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians."

Moussa's statement suggested Arab League members are shaken by the results of their March 12 call for the no-fly zone. Even a partial reversal by the league would hinder Western powers that invoked the Arab vote to justify military action against Moammar Gadhafi and get U.N. Security Council approval for it.

But most Arab governments were still publicly silent Sunday, as condemnations came from faraway leaders in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba. Russia and China, which abstained on the Security Council resolution, have voiced "regret."

So far tiny Qatar is the only Arab state saying it will join the coalition campaign. But Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani did not specify what the emirate would do.

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