UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to lift the no-fly zone over Libya on Monday and end military action to protect civilians, acting swiftly after the death of Moammar Gadhafi and the interim government's declaration of the country's liberation.
The council authorized the actions March 17 in response to an Arab League request to try to halt Gadhafi's military, which was advancing against rebels and their civilian supporters. The NATO bombing campaign that followed was critical in helping the rebels oust Gadhafi in August.
In Berlin, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday's U.N. resolution "reflects that we have fully accomplished our mandate to protect the civilian population of Libya, so now we have firm ground for terminating our operations as we decided to do a week ago."
The alliance is ready to assist the new Libyan government in the transformation to democracy, particularly in the areas of defense and security sector reforms, Fogh Rasmussen said. "I wouldn't expect new tasks beyond that."
The resolution ends the U.N. authorization for military action just before midnight local time on Monday, which means Libya will regain control of its airspace and all military operations effective Nov. 1.
The Security Council said it looks forward "to the swift establishment of an inclusive, representative transitional government of Libya" committed to democracy, good governance, rule of law, national reconciliation and respect for human rights.