CAIRO -- The Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council Saturday to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from air attack by forces of Moammar Gadhafi's embattled government, giving crucial backing to a key demand of the rebel forces battling to oust the Libyan leader.
Foreign ministers from the 22-member Arab bloc, meeting in Cairo, also left the Libyan leader of more than 40 years increasingly isolated, declaring his government had "lost its sovereignty."
They also appeared to confer legitimacy on the rebel's interim government, the National Libyan Council, saying they would establish contacts with the umbrella group and calling on nations to provide it with "urgent help.""The Arab League asks the United Nations to shoulder its responsibility ... to impose a no-fly zone over the movement of Libyan military planes and to create safe zones in the places vulnerable to airstrikes," said a league statement released after the emergency session.
League Secretary-General Amr Moussa stressed in remarks afterward that a no-fly zone was intended as a humanitarian measure to protect Libyan civilians and foreigners in the country and not as a military intervention.
That stance appeared meant to win over the deeply Arab nationalist
government of Syria, which has smarted against foreign intervention into
Arab affairs. (FULL ARTICLE CONTINUED HERE)