UN lifts Libya no-fly zone


A French Navy firefighter looks on as he walks past a Rafale jet fighter on the flight deck of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier on April 21, 2011 during NATO operations off the coast of Libya.


Alexander Klein

The United Nations Security Council voted Thursday to end its authorization for a military operation in Libya and lift the no-fly zone over the country, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"This closes what I think history will judge to be a proud chapter in the Security Council's history," Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reportedly said Thursday.

She said the Security Council "acted promptly and effectively to prevent mass slaughter in Benghazi and other parts of the east."

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Reuters reports that the Security Council terminated the mandate without waiting for the National Transitional Council to decide if it wants NATO's help securing the country's borders.

"If requested we can assist the new Libyan government in the transformation to democracy, for instance with defense and security sector reform, but I wouldn't expect new tasks beyond that," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

The international community operated a targeted military campaign in Libya for seven months.

The vote on the no-fly zone comes a week after former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was captured near his hometown Sirte and killed and Libya's National Transitional Council declared the country liberated.

The no-fly zone had been mandated by the United Nations in March as an effort to prevent Gaddafi and his forces from killing civilians. It led to a NATO bombing campaign against Gaddafi's forces.