Recep Erdogan against UN sanctions on Libya

"Int'l community acting out of concern about Tripoli's oil reserves and not its people," Turkish PM says as UNSC mull using sanctions to punish Gaddafi, his family and his cohorts.

By
February 26, 2011 16:52
2 minute read.
Erdogan flag

Erdogan flag 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken out against the United Nations imposing sanctions on Libya, warning that the Libyan people would suffer most, not Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Erdogan also suggested Saturday that the international community was acting out of concern about Libya's oil reserves and not its people.

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Erdogan spoke hours before UN Security Council members were to meet again to discuss ways to punish the Libyan leader for his violent attacks on anti-government protesters.

UN Security Council members on Friday were mulling ways to punish Gaddafi, his family and his cohorts after the country's ambassador to the UN beseeched them to help halt the deadly attacks that his once-close comrade has unleashed on anti-government protesters.

"I hope that within hours, not days, they can do something tangible, effective to stop what they are doing there — Gaddafi and his sons — against our people," Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham said after addressing the council Friday.

Under pressure from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take concrete action to protect civilians, the council agreed to meet urgently again Saturday. Up for consideration are an arms embargo against the government and a travel ban and asset freeze against Gaddafi, his relatives and key members of his government.

The draft sanctions resolution circulated by France, Britain, Germany and the United States also would refer the violent crackdown in Libya to the International Criminal Court so it can investigate possible crimes against humanity.



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Ban said some estimates indicate more than 1,000 people have been killed in less than two weeks since the protests broke out in the North African country, and that many people cannot leave their homes for fear of being shot. "In these circumstances, the loss of time means more loss of lives," the UN chief said.

Council members were visibly moved by the speech by Shalgham, who only on Tuesday had praised Gaddafi as "my friend" and refused to join other diplomats at Libya's UN mission in demanding that the strongman step down.

"They are asking for their freedom. They are asking for their rights," Shalgham told the council "They did not throw a single stone and they were killed. I tell my brother Gaddafi: 'Leave the Libyans alone.' "

After his speech, the ambassador was embraced by his tearful deputy, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who had led the mutiny against Gaddafi at the UN headquarters. As Dabbashi wept, he was also embraced by many ambassadors and the secretary-general.

A nonviolent revolt against Gaddafi's four-decade-old rule began Feb. 15 amid a wave of uprisings across the region and has swept over most of the country's eastern half. Witnesses say Gaddafi's government has responded by shooting on protesters in numerous cities. Loyalist militias on Friday opened fire on thousands of demonstrators in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.


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