UNITED NATIONS -- Key Western nations urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to demand an immediate end to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's bloody crackdown on civilian protesters and strongly condemn the violence.
The U.N.'s most powerful body met behind closed doors Tuesday morning to discuss possible council action, most likely a press statement agreed by all 15 members, as key Libyan diplomats disowned Gadhafi's regime
Germany's U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig told reporters as he headed into the meeting that his country wants "a swift and clear messge of the council."
Several Western diplomats said at a minimum they want a council statement Tuesday condemning the violence against Libyan civilians, demanding an immediate end to the crackdown, and calling on all parties to act with restraint, and respect human rights and international law. They also want the council to demand full protection for foreign nationals and access for humanitarian assistance and human rights monitors, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the consultations were private.
Brazil, which holds the council presidency this month, called the meeting after receiving a letter from Libya's deputy U.N. ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who signed it as "charge d'affaires," meaning he was running Libya's U.N. Mission. Diplomats said there was some question of whether he was, in fact, in charge but Germany, a non-permanent council member, said it would call for consultations if there was a question.
Dabbashi on Monday urged Gadhafi to step down and warned that if he doesn't leave, "the Libyan people will get rid of him."
The Libyan ambassador to the United States also urged Gadhafi to step down, the ambassador to India resigned as did the ambassador to Bangladesh who protested the killing of family members by government troops.
Almost all Libyan diplomats at the United Nations backed Dabbashi's pleas to Gadhafi to end his 40-year rule and to the international community to intervene.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Beverly Hills, California, that he hopes "the Security Council will take this matter on an urgent basis."
Gadhafi's security forces unleashed the most deadly crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, with reports Monday that demonstrators were being fired at from helicopters and warplanes. After seven days of protests and deadly clashes in Libya's eastern cities, the eruption of turmoil in the capital, Tripoli, sharply escalated the challenge to Gadhafi.
Ban said he had spoken to Gadhafi earlier Monday for 40 minutes and "forcefully urged him to stop violence against demonstrators and again strongly underlined the importance of respecting the human rights of those demonstrators."