The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to end military operations in Libya.
The council adopted a resolution that rescinded its mandate for military intervention in Libya, effectively canceling the NATO mission there as of Monday.
Libya’s interim leaders declared their nation liberated last Sunday after the capture and death of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
“Today, in a sense we are completing a sequence which was started by the vote of Resolution 1973 when the international community decided to act to prevent Gadhafi from slaughtering his own people,” said Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the United Nations. “During the seven months that have followed, we have seen dramatic events where the Libyan people have succeeded to free themselves with the support of NATO.”
In March, the council adopted Resolution 1973, which imposed a no-fly zone in the country’s airspace and authorized member states “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country … while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”
There were no opposing votes on the 15-member council, but China, Russia, Germany, India and Brazil abstained. Germany said it was concerned about a protracted military conflict.
The resolution became the basis for NATO’s airstrikes in the North African nation.
In ending the mandate Thursday, the Security Council expressed concern at the proliferation of arms in Libya and said it intends to address that issue further. The resolution also expressed “grave concern about continuing reports of reprisals, arbitrary detentions, wrongful imprisonment and extrajudicial executions.”
Last week, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, commander of NATO’s military forces, recommended that NATO wrap up its mission in Libya by October 31. NATO ministers gave preliminary approval to that plan.
But U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said this week that Libya’s National Transitional Council wanted NATO to stick around until it could establish governance.
However, Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the 15-member council Wednesday that the Libyan people were looking forward to ending the NATO mission.
While Libyans were grateful for the international community’s support, he said, such measures felt like an infringement of Libya’s sovereignty.