Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will join international forces set to bomb Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Libya after the UN votes to authorize air strikes, a UN diplomat said this evening.

"There will be participation by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. That has been confirmed at the Security Council," the diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said just ahead of the council's vote on authorizing force.

The head of the Arab League delegation to the UN, Yahya Mahmassani, said the two countries might take part in raids, but that he could not confirm this.

Earlier, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said "there are excellent reasons to think that there will be participation by Arab countries."

The UN Security Council appeared set to authorize aerial bombardments of Gaddafi's forces to stop their push on embattled rebel units.

The resolution, drawn up by Britain, France and Lebanon and strong US input, specifically excludes "an occupation force" in Libya. And it calls on Arab nations to "cooperate" in the action.

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