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All Maltese MEPs back EP motion for Gaddafi's resignation, no-fly zone

Nationalist and Labour MEPs this morning supported a European Parliament resolution calling on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down and backing a planned UN resolution for the imposition of a no-fly zone.

With Colonel Gaddafi's planes and tanks pounding rebel positions in the east of Libya, MEPs demanded the enforcement of a no-fly zone over the country's territory and the diplomatic recognition of rebel authorities. France this morning became the first country to formally recognise the rebels as the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people.

During the debate, MEPs had no kind words for Gaddafi and his government, speaking of a criminal regime, terrorising its own people.

Socialist leader Martin Schulz said “Gaddafi is a criminal. He is a murderer, who should be put in an international court. This man will not escape his punishment.”

In the debate all political groups except the leftist GUE/NGL supported the no-fly zone, although they differed on the need for UN authorisation.

Excerpts from the EP’s approved resolution:

The EP: “Stresses that the EU and its member states must honour their Responsibility to Protect, in order to save Libyan civilians from large-scale armed attacks; points out that no option provided for in the UN Charter can therefore be ruled out; calls on the High Representative and the Member States to stand ready for a UNSC decision on further measures, including the possibility of a no-fly zone aimed at preventing the regime from targeting the civilian population; emphasises that any measures enacted by the EU and its Member States should be in compliance with a UN mandate and be based on coordination with the Arab League and the African Union, encouraging both organisations to steer international efforts;”

“Calls for an immediate end to the brutal dictatorial regime of Colonel Gaddafi and calls on him to stand down immediately in order to prevent further bloodshed and to allow a peaceful political transition to take place;”

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