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Arab League chief: Goal in Libya is to protect civilians, not regime change

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Moussa: I meant what I said: The goal should be to protect Libyan civilians. Why did I say so? There were reports that civilian casualties started to appear as a result of the attacks by the coalition. As a result, I said that all civilian casualties and attacks that would affect the civilians are our concern – and that is why we needed to establish a no-fly zone and safe areas in the first place.

As for the idea “that there for different goals” beyond safety of civilians, this we have nothing to do with it. We are committed to the Security Council goals, letter and spirit according to what the resolution determines.

No-fly zone: no second thoughts

Dergham: When you went to Paris and endorsed the no-fly zone, you knew that there would be a military operation, and the Security Council resolution spoke as well of a “no-drive zone.” You did know that this would require bombings on the ground?

Moussa: I stressed at the time the necessity to protect the civilian population and that there are limitations by the Security Council; no land invasions, forces of occupation … etc. That there would be some military operations in order to paralyze the launching pads, this we understood. Even some Arab countries have decided to participate in this.

Dergham: Then you have no second thoughts about endorsing the no-fly zone, whatever it takes?

Moussa: No, there are no second thoughts on this. This is our initiative. The no-fly zone is the goal in order to protect the Libyan citizens. Respecting the resolution is also a commitment by us.

Dergham: What if Muammar Qaddafi decides to take a break from the military operations and then get back at it later. If this goes on for very a long time, do you think the coalition is ready to sustain its military operations for a very long time? Or is there a time limit that you discussed in Paris?

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