No UN mandate to attack Gaddafi forces: Russia

Posted: March 28, 2011 in World News

Steve Gutterman
Reuters
March 28, 2011

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Monday attacks on forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi amounted to intervention in a civil war and were not backed by the U.N. resolution authorising no-fly zones.

In the latest Russian criticism of military action by the Western-led coalition, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council on March 17 had the sole aim of protecting Libyan civilians.

“And yet there are reports — and nobody denies them — of coalition strikes on columns of Gaddafi’s forces, reports about support for actions by the armed insurgents,” Lavrov said. “There are clear contradictions here.”

“We consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council resolution,” Lavrov said when asked about Libya at a news conference with the Kyrgyz foreign minister.

Russia has veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council but chose not to block the resolution, which authorised “all necessary measures to enforce compliance” with no-fly zones.

However, Russian leaders have expressed concern that the resolution gave coalition forces too much leeway and the intervention was causing civilian deaths. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin compared the resolution to “medieval calls for crusades”.

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