NEW YORK (RNN) - The United Nations Security Council has effectively authorized the use of force in Libya to protect citizens from attack by Moammar Gadhafi.
The Council adopted a resolution that provides for the use of force if needed by a 10-0 vote, with five abstentions. The vote gives member states the authority to "take all necessary measures to protect civilian populated areas under threat of attack … while excluding an occupation force."
Russia and China, nations with veto power, were among the countries abstaining from the vote. Brazil, Germany and India also abstained.
"Expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence and the heavy civilian casualties," the resolution condemns the "gross and systematic violation of human rights" and imposes a no-fly zone, banning all flights in Libyan airspace except those for humanitarian purposes.
"The central purpose of this resolution is clear - to end the violence, to protect civilians and to allow the people of Libya to determine their own future free from the tyranny of the Gadhafi regime," said Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the UN representative from the United Kingdom.
The resolution also demands an immediate cease-fire and an end to attacks against civilians.
"The future of Libya should be decided by the people of Libya. The United States stands with the Libyan people in support of their universal rights," said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN.
The resolution authorizes freezing the assets of seven individuals, including Gadhafi's sons, and five entities tied to the Libyan leader who UN Ambassadors say has lost all legitimacy among his people and the world.
"Today the Security Council has responded to the Libyan people's cry for help," Rice said.
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