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Russia demands lifting no-fly zone over Libya – UN envoy

September 17, 2011, 2:25 UTC+3
Russia has called for lifting the no-fly zone over the territory of Libya. Speaking at the UN Security Council on Friday Russia’s permanent representative
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UNITED NATIONS, September 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has called for lifting the no-fly zone over the territory of Libya. Speaking at the UN Security Council on Friday Russia’s permanent representative, Vitaly Churkin, said that "the main aim of the no-fly zone was to protect the civilian population."

"Unfortunately,” said the Russian ambassador, “the mandate issued by the UN Security Council for the operation, has been exceeded, which resulted in bomb attacks against civilian targets and civilian casualties."

Moscow believes that now, "in the face of the new realities on the ground and in the air preserving the no-fly zone has lost its meaning."

"Its cancellation should become part of efforts by the international community to normalize the situation and response to the Libyan crisis," said Vitaly Churkin.

He called for a thorough investigation of all human rights violations during the conflict in Libya.

"Crimes - and there has been ever more evidence of this - were committed by all sides, and from the very first days,” said the Russian official. “There have been exposed cases of killings of prisoners, torture, forced disappearances and arbitrary detention."

Of particular concern, according to Churkin, is the situation in which immigrants from African countries were subject to harassment and violence for no good reason.

"He said Russia expects "appropriate steps from the new Libyan authorities."

Moscow believes that declarations in favor of the establishment of new democratic Libya "should be accompanied by practical steps by the Transitional National Council, confirming its commitment to tolerance and the promotion of national reconciliation."

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