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Should there be a no-fly zone over Libya?

11:33 UK time, Wednesday, 2 March 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested that a no-fly zone should be imposed over Libya in a bid to tackle the current crisis. Is this a practical option?

Mr Cameron said that it was essential to "plan for every eventuality" in the country, adding: "It is not acceptable to have a situation where Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people, using aeroplanes and helicopters and the like".

Foreign Secretary William Hague has indicated that a no-fly zone could be introduced without a UN Security Council resolution but there are concerns, shared by the US Defence Secretary, that this could split the international community.

Meanwhile, forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi are said to be moving into rebel territory in the east, capturing an oil installation in the town of Brega. Pro-Gaddafi jets also bombed an arms dump in the nearby city of Ajdabiya.

What is the best way to solve the crisis in Libya? Should Col Gaddafi be encouraged to step down? What are the implications for the region? Should the West consider military action in Libya?

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