Reuters 9/3/2011

  • Source: Reuters Africa
  • Title: UPDATE 1-Libyan crown prince urges no-fly zone, air strikes
  • Date & Time: 9 March 1.17pm
  • Author: Erika Solomon

* Crown prince says Libyans do not want troops on ground

* Says Libya needs less talk more action(Adds details, quotes)

Libyan crown prince urges no-fly zone, air strikes

DUBAI, March 9 (Reuters) - Libya's exiled crown prince asked foreign powers on Wednesday to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and strike Muammar Gaddafi's air defences, but said the Libyan people would not want international forces on the ground.

Mohammed El Senussi, whose family was overthrown by Gaddafi in a 1969 coup, said a no-fly zone would prevent more bloodshed in the north African country, where rebels are struggling to topple the Libyan leader.

"I am speaking for all Libyans when I ask for a no-fly zone and targeted air strikes on Gaddafi's air defences, although it would be wrong for (there to be) troops on the ground and the people of Libya do not want it," he said.

"We need less talk and more action. This is not a crisis to be discussed in committees while men, women and children are being slaughtered indiscriminately, and action is needed as soon as possible," he added from his exile in London.

Senussi's great-uncle King Idris and his father Hassan El Senussi, then the crown prince, were overthrown in 1969. The royal family was held under house arrest for years and in 1988 was allowed to leave Libya for Britain.  

"Brave people from every tribe and every region of Libya tell me the situation is getting worse by the hour," Senussi said.

"The murderous regime under Gaddafi continues to use air power and heavy weapons with vicious brutality against the Libyan people, but the international community is saying a lot and doing nothing."

With the international community still hesitant about how to respond to the crisis in Libya, a counter-offensive by Gaddafi has halted a rebel advance in the east and left others stranded in the western cities of Zawiyah and Misrata.

Forces loyal to Gaddafi, who has said he would die in Libya rather than surrender, closed in on rebels in Zawiyah on Wednesday, surrounding them with tanks in the main square. [ID:nLDE728029]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that Washington believes imposing a no-fly zone is a matter for the United Nations and should not be a U.S.-led initiative.

"I am in support of all Libyan tribes and groups, including the National Transitional Council in Benghazi, as long as they continue to act in the best interests of the Libyan people, and they all need immediate help from overseas governments," Sennusi said.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

Original Article: Libyan crown prince urges no-fly zone, air strikes