Thursday, March 31, 2011

China urges political solution in Libya

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu

Source: Press TV

China has urged immediate cessation of US-led military airstrikes against Libya and stated that crisis in the North African country must be solved through peaceful means.

"Given the current situation, we believe that it is urgent to stop armed conflicts and solve the Libya crisis as soon as possible with peaceful means," Xinhua quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

The Chinese official stressed that Beijing supports the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League and other international and regional organizations in their efforts to come up with a political and diplomatic solution to the Libyan issue.

Jiang Yu added, "We believe that the affairs and future of Libya should be decided by Libyans themselves."

The remarks come as the top Vatican official in Libya says that at least 40 civilians have been killed following airstrikes launched by US and its allies on the capital Tripoli.

“The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli,” the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, said on Thursday.

He added, “I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighborhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people."

Libyan state TV has announced that at least 114 people, including several civilians, have been killed and 445 others injured in US-led aerial attacks in the oil-rich country.

"From March 20 to March 23, the attacks have killed 114 people and injured 445 people," the network quoted Libyan Health Minister Khaled Omar as saying at a press conference in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Saturday.

According to government figures, 104 people were killed in Tripoli, while another 10 civilians lost their lives in Sirte, the hometown of the Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says some 351,600 people have fled the crisis-hit Libya for fear of violence and around 1,500 to 2,000 are making their way to Egypt each day.

According to US military officials, more than 350 aircraft are participating in the US-led campaign of military airstrikes against Libya.

Apart from the United States, twelve countries from the European Union are taking part in Operation Odyssey Dawn, which began on March 19 after the UN Security Council imposed a no-fly zone over Libya to "protect civilians" from Gaddafi's attacks.

The rising civilian death toll in Libya has set off a frenzy of speculations about the real motive behind the war in the country with many analysts stating that under the guise of protecting civilians, as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolution 1973, Washington and its Western allies are basically after the North African country's vast oil reserves.

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