311_sarkozy making donut holes.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
GENEVA — Libyan diplomats at the United Nations in Geneva
declared they were defecting to the opposition Friday, delivering
another blow to Muammar Gaddafi's flailing regime as international
pressure built over his violent attempt to cling to power.Editor's Notes: A mass expression of outrage against injustice
President Nicolas Sarkozy called on the long-time leader to step down,
demanding during a visit to Turkey that Gaddafi "must go," and calling
for an investigation and sanctions against the regime.
'Libya announces increase in wages, food subsidies'
dramatic scene at an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council,
a senior diplomat with the Libyan delegation to the UN in Geneva
asked the council to stand for a moment of silence to "honor this
revolution" — and then informed the council the entire mission was
quitting the government. Council members gave them a standing ovation.
young people in my country today, 100 years after the Italian fascist
invasion, are today with their blood writing a new chapter in the
history of struggle and resistance," Shaltut told the 47-nation council.
in the Libyan mission have categorically decided to serve as
representatives of the Libyan people and their free will. We only
represent the Libyan people," he said. "We will serve as their
representative in this august body and international organizations."
resignations come after the UN's top human rights official warned
that mass killings in Libya, possibly of thousands, require the world to
"step in vigorously" and immediately end a brutal crackdown on
anti-government protesters in the North African country.
high commissioner spoke with the most urgency yet by a UN official,
citing estimates that thousands may have died at the hands of Gaddafi's
security forces, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity.
crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly
with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of
protesters," Navi Pillay said during the council's daylong emergency
meeting. "Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have reportedly been
used indiscriminately to attack the protesters. According to some
sources, thousands may have been killed or injured."
debated whether to call for Libya's ouster from the council, in what
would be an unprecedented suspension of one of its own members. It will
also decide whether to heed Pillay's call for an independent UN-led
probe of abuses in Libya.
It was only last May that the former
US enemy, Libya, was elected to the Geneva-based body as part of a
series of attempts at political rehabilitation on the world stage.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also was to meet with the powerful UN
Security Council later Friday in New York to consider possible sanctions
European nations were leading the effort to
condemn Gaddafi's regime that has ruled for 42 years but now appears to
have lost control of large parts of the country.
"The world is
watching you, the world will hold you to account," British Prime
Minister David Cameron told reporters Friday, referring to Gaddafi's
regime. "International justice has a long reach and a long memory."
President Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement on Friday that Libya must
not be allowed any "further exacerbation of the situation, the
destruction of the civilian population." It is the Kremlin's strongest
criticism yet of Libya.
It is the first time that the Geneva-based
council has held a special session to scrutinize one of its members.
Libya's ambassador did not attend, but some of its allies spoke out
against sudden measures to punish Gaddafi.
In Brussels, NATO was holding an
emergency meeting Friday to consider the deteriorating situation in
Libya. It had received no requests to intervene and said it would only
do so if it were given a United Nations mandate.
The UN Security Council also planned to meet later Friday in New York to consider actions against Gadhafi's regime.
Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France and Britain would
press the Security Council for a "total embargo on weapons as well as
sanctions, and also the referral of a case to the International Criminal
Court for crimes against humanity."