French war planes are overflying Benghazi, preventing Moamer Kadhafi's air strikes on the Libyan rebel bastion, and are ready to attack his tanks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on March 19.
"In agreement with our partners, our air force will oppose any attack by Colonel Kadhafi's planes on the people of Benghazi. Our planes are already preventing air strikes on the city," Sarkozy said.
"Already other planes, French, are ready to intervene against tanks that might threaten unarmed civilians," he said after a summit drawing together international leaders to discuss what action to take on Libya.
"There's still time for Kadhafi to avoid the worst, by obeying without delay or reserve all the demands of the international community," Sarkozy said. "The door of diplomacy will reopen when the attacks end."
"Today we are intervening in Libya under a U.N. Security Council mandate," he said. "With our partners, notably our Arab partners, we will do so to protect the civilian population from the murderous folly of a regime that, by killing its own people, has lost all legitimacy."
"We are intervening to allow the Libyan people to themselves choose their destiny. They cannot be deprived of their rights through violence and terror," Sarkozy said.