On this day March 17, 2011

United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 on the situation in Libya, proposed by France, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom.

Ten Security Council members voted in the affirmative (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, and permanent members France, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Five (Brazil, Germany, and India, and permanent members China and Russia) abstained, with none opposed.

The resolution formed the legal basis for military intervention in the Libyan civil war, demanding “an immediate ceasefire” and authorizing the international community to establish a no-fly zone and to use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians.

On 18 March, Muammar Gaddafi’s government announced that they would comply with the resolution and implement a ceasefire. However, it quickly became clear that no ceasefire had in fact been implemented.

Libyan opposition forces in Benghazi cheered and fired guns and fireworks into the air as the resolution was adopted. A few hours before issuing the resolution, Gaddafi warned the opposition with a speech saying, “We are coming tonight, and there will be no mercy”.

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