New York: The United Nations Security Council authorized a no-fly zone and other military action against the embattled regime of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Ten of the 15-member body voted in favour of the resolution, but five nations -- China, Russia (which have veto power) and non-permanent members India, Germany and Brazil -- abstained from voting.
The vote, which authorises "all necessary measures" for protecting civilians there from Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces, now provides the legal basis for the US, France, the UK and several Arab nations to intervene in the Libyan conflict to avert what they claim is a likely bloodbath should Qaddafi defeat the opposition.
The resolution, however, excludes "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory," at it rules out deploying troops on the ground. It allows for inspections of shipments headed to Libya, to enforce an arms embargo, and imposes a global freeze on assets.
"This resolution calls for far-reaching measures but we never got answers to very basic questions," Indian envoy to UN Hardeep Singh Puri said. "This entire exercise has been based on less than complete information."
China's top diplomat in the UN Li Baodong also voiced similar concerns. "Many of those questions failed to be clarified or answered," Li told UNSC after the vote.
The promptings for the vote came last week from the Arab League, which asked for a no-fly zone to be established in Libya and the resolution itself, co-authored by Britain and France, was tabled by Lebanon on Tuesday.