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Libya denies air space closed as Europe bans all flights

Libya denied shutting down its air space Friday while European governments decided to ban all civilian flights to the country after the UN approved air strikes, Europe's air traffic agency said.

world Updated: Mar 18, 2011 17:25 IST

Libya denied shutting down its air space Friday while European governments decided to ban all civilian flights to the country after the UN approved air strikes, Europe's air traffic agency said.

"Libyan authorities informed us that the air space is open," a Eurocontrol spokeswoman told AFP after the agency earlier cited Maltese authorities as saying that Tripoli was not accepting traffic "until further notice."

Separately, all 39 member states of Eurocontrol, which includes the European Union's 27 nations as well as Russia, asked the agency to "ban all flights" flying over and heading to Libya, the spokeswoman said.

"We are rejecting any flight plan that requests any overflight over Libya or flying into Libyan airspace," she said.

The United States, Britain and France were expected to scramble fighter jets against Kadhafi's forces after they secured the UN Security Council's blessing late Thursday. Paris warned military action was imminent.