The UN remained divided over the proposed no-fly zone in Libya as pro-Gaddafi forces closed in on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Britain and France last night formally tabled a draft resolution to the UN Security Council proposing a no-fly-zone and a host of other measures including stopping flights from outside Libya suspected of bringing arms into the country and the tightening of sanctions against Libya.

They urged the 15-member body to ban
all flights in Libyan airspace in an attempt to halt the bombing of
civilians by Gaddafi’s forces and to pass the resolution before the dictator had time to restore control over the country.

Russia, Germany the US and China all oppose the move.

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Meanwhile, in a G8 meeting in Paris Britain and France failed to win over other powers view that a no-fly zone should be enforced post-haste.

Alain Juppé, the French foreign minister expressed frustration with the delay: “If we had used military force last week to neutralise some airstrips and the several dozen planes that they have, perhaps the reversal taking place to the detriment of the opposition wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

“We have perhaps missed a chance to restore the balance.”

Government soldiers are believed to have entered the outskirts of Ajdabiya in eastern Libya in preparation to take Benghazi.

In a statement Gaddafi said: “The armed forces are arriving to ensure your security, undo the injustice done to you, protect you, restore calm and bring life back to normal…we are determined to crush the enemy.”

The UN resolution will be debated by the Security Council today.