Monday, May 2, 2011

NATO violates UN Libya mandate: Russia

A street in Tripoli after NATO airstrikes (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Russia says NATO's disproportionate use of force in Libya has led to the death of civilians amid growing concerns that NATO is overstepping the remits of the UN mandate.

"The disproportional use of force, all the more so, beyond the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution No. 1973, which in no way stipulates the replacement of the Libyan leadership, is leading to harmful consequences and the death of civilians," according to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement quoted by RIA Novosti on Sunday.

The statement comes a day after Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's youngest son, Saif al-Arab, and his three grandchildren were killed in an airstrike on a house in the Bab al-Aziziyah area of Tripoli.

Following the deadly attack, NATO's commander of Libya operations, Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, said the target was part of a strategy to hit command centers that threaten civilians.

"All NATO's targets are military in nature...We do not target individuals," he said in a statement.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, adopted March 17, allowed for NATO forces to pound positions belonging to Gaddafi regime in order to save civilians from attacks by Gaddafi troops.

Moscow expressed doubt that NATO airstrikes are solely aimed at protecting civilians, saying that the Saturday strike added further fuel to speculation that NATO seeks physical destruction of Gaddafi and his family members.

"Moscow perceives with growing alarm the reports about victims among civilians. The statements by the coalition members that the airstrikes against Libya are not aimed at physically destroying Muammar Gaddafi and members of his family cause serious doubts," the ministry said in the statement.

"We are again calling for strict compliance with the provisions of the decisions made by the international community on the Libyan conflict, for an immediate ceasefire and the start of a political settlement without any preconditions," the statement added.

The statement comes as NATO air attacks have also killed civilians in the eastern opposition-held areas of the country, contradicting its main pledge of protecting people.

NATO has come under intense grilling over its failure to protect civilians and avoid human losses at a time when pro-Gaddafi forces have stepped up their attacks against opposition forces in the Libyan cities along the Mediterranean coast, particularly in the besieged western city of Misratah.

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