Obama, U.N Warn Gadhafi to Cease Fire 'Immediately'

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The United States and its allies are preparing for a possible military strike against the Libyan government after the United Nations authorized "all necessary measures" to protect residents from dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Libya declared an immediate cease-fire Friday in an effort to halt the international military intervention.

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Kouss claimed the cease-fire would, "Take the country back to safety" and ensure security for all Libyans.

Yet, he also criticized the authorization of international military action, calling it a violation of Libya's sovereignty.

On Thursday, the U.N. voted unanimously to declare a no-fly zone to prevent the Gadhafi regime from continuing attacks on anti-government protestors.

President Barack Obama said stopping Gadhafi is a priority, but ruled out the possibility of putting U.S. troops on the ground to help stop the violence.

"[Gadhafi] has made [his intentions] clear," Obama said. "Just yesterday, speaking of the city of Benghazi, a city of roughly 700,000, he threatened, 'We will have no mercy and no pity.' No mercy on his own citizens."

In a joint statement to Gadhafi late Friday, the United States, Britain, and France - backed by unspecified Arab countries - said a cease-fire must begin "immediately" in Libya, the French presidential palace said.

Click play to watch updated coverage with CBN News Reporter Mark Martin, Followed by comments from Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

U.N. Resolution Approved

Gadhafi has vowed to continue to fight against the rebel forces, who have been battling his regime's military for the last five weeks.

Europe's air traffic agency says Libya has closed its air space to all flights.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, challenging four decades of Moammar Gadhafi's rule.

"This resolution demands an immediate cease fire and a complete end to violence and attacks against civilians," said Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

The U.N. vote comes as the Libyan military and Gadhafi supporters regain momentum in their struggle against weeks of heavy rebel resistance.

Gadhafi has vowed to attack Benghazi, where rebel forces still retain control over the areas. However, Saif al-Islam, Gadhafi's son, said the U.S.'s vote was the wrong move.

"First of all, it was unfair because as you know, from the beginning we told everybody there were no air strikes against civilians," al-Islam said.

However in reality, Gadhafi's air force delivered punishing air strikes on the city of Adjabiya, which forced most of its population to flee to the surrounding countryside.

Reaction 

Throughout Libyan cities in which the rebels control, people celebrated the news of the no-fly zone announcement.

There was a different reaction from Libyan Deputy Foregin Minister Khalid Kaim, who held a news conference following the U.N. vote. He expressed gratitude for the five countries that abstained.

"If the international community really cares about the civilians, about the integrity of the country, about the unity of the country, then let's have the committee here on the ground," Kaim said.

After the news conference ended, a crowd of regime supporters stormed the room.

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