Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU should implement a no-fly zone over Libya

22nd February 2011

The EU and USA should consider imposing an emergency 'no-fly zone' over Libya in order to prevent the brutal regime from launching any further aerial attacks against his own people, Charles Tannock MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists group foreign affairs spokesman, demanded.

Dr Tannock said the no-fly zone could be set up in a similar manner to the two in northern and southern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, and policed by European and United States hardware. The Iraqi zones were patrolled by US, UK and French jets.

Dr Tannock said that the zone could be flexible to enable humanitarian missions and evacuation missions to enter and leave.

He said:

"So far, EU ministers have issued strong words on Libya but there is no indication that they will be backed up with meaningful actions and therefore they ring hollow.

"Gaddafi has always been a ruthless, totalitarian, and brutal ruler and his reaction to the protests shows he has not mellowed with age. We need to step in now to stop a genocide from occurring in a deeply unstable region. He has nothing to lose by his atrocious actions and has nowhere to flee to in the region, making negotiations with him or pleas to show restraint almost impossible.

"Over the next few days we will all be watching the regime extremely closely. Democracy is not just about elections, but about fundamental freedoms and if Gaddafi is turning his arsenal against his own people, we must not stand idly by and allow it to happen on our doorstep.

"A no-fly zone and strong targeted sanctions against Gaddafi and his sons will show that we are serious about supporting the people of Libya against the man who has wrecked his country.

"A strong and united showing from Europe is necessary now to prevent further crisis in the future. For Baroness Ashton this crisis represents the ultimate challenge both for her and the new European External Action Service and I hope they live up to it."