Posted at 02:21 PM ET, 03/18/2011

Libya cease-fire: What the British and French media are saying


Permanent representatives from the United Kingdom, Mark Lyall Grant, left, and the United States, Susan Rice, right, vote to approve a resolution that will impose a no-fly zone over Libya during a meeting of the UN Security Council, March 17. (Jason DeCrow - AP)
After the U.N. Security Council voted to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya Friday morning, the Moammar Gaddafi-led government declared a cease-fire and vowed to stop all military operations.

Britain and France are the strongest backers of military intervention in Libya, with Britain saying it will mobilize its Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets, and two frigates currently in the Mediterranean, and France promising to cooperate in those missions.

Here’s what the British and French media are saying:

Based on headlines on the home pages of British news sites, BBC emphasized the cease-fire itself, the Guardian and the Telegraph emphasized ongoing clashes despite the cease-fire, while the Daily Mail stayed focused on Japan’s nuclear emergency. Based on headlines on the home pages of French news sites, Le Monde emphasized military intervention, while France 24 emphasized the no-fly zone itself.

Speaking in the House of Commons Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Britain will deploy Tornados and Typhoons, as well as air to air refueling and surveillance aircraft. Preparations to deploy these aircraft have already started, and in the coming hours they will move to airbases, where they can start to take the necessary action.”

The Guardian reported that David Cameron spoke about Libya at the Scottish Conservative conference, saying he took action because of Gaddafi’s pledge Thursday night that there would be “no mercy.”

When Cameron mentioned Gaddafi’s crimes against “Scotland specifically,” referring to the Lockerbie bombing, he received applause.

Cameron also insisted this intervention in Libya will be no Iraq. “The people of Libya don't want that” occupation, he said, nor does Britain or its allies.

Cameron justified British military action by saying: “This is where our ideals and our interests come together, and I know that the British people, as they always do at such times of difficulty, they will unite behind the action we are taking.”

The Guardian's foreign leader writer David Hearst assesses Libya's announcement of a cease-fire, saying that if there is a real cease-fire, Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s will have given a “jujitsu throw” to the U.N. Watch ithere.

Le Monde reported that shortly before the vote, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe  had strongly emphasized the urgency of the situation. “It is a matter of days, maybe a matter of hours,” he said in his speech before the vote. “Every day, every hour that passes increases the weight of responsibility that weighs on our shoulders.”

Former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine has also supported intervention in Libya, saying it is not an “interference,” but “the responsibility to protect” a people called to help.

France's foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said France does not want NATO involved in U.N.-sanctioned military action in Libya, BBC reported. "We do not think it would be the right signal to send that NATO, as such, intervenes in an Arab nation," he said.

By  |  02:21 PM ET, 03/18/2011

 
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