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Moscow not recognise NATO saves people’s lives in Libya – Lavrov

October 06, 2011, 13:40 UTC+3

“The U.N. resolutions called for taking measures to protect the civilian population, but all went quite the contrary,” the Russian minister noted

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MOSCOW, October 6 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow does not recognise that NATO’s interference into Libya saved a large amount of people’s lives, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

After the talks with Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Yusuf on Thursday, Lavrov said, “We don’t recognise magic words from the NATO capital that the Alliance’s interference saved a large amount of people’s lives.”

“The U.N. resolutions called for taking measures to protect the civilian population, but all went quite the contrary,” the Russian minister noted.

“Violence used by the Libyan leadership against the peaceful population is inadmissible. It is necessary to fight the evil honestly. One cannot struggle against lawfulness by violating international law, moreover on the early stage of the crisis there were all possibilities to stop the bloodshed and convince the parties to start talks. The African Union’s initiative was also aimed at this and we supported it,” he said.

“Unfortunately, other members of the international community, primarily our Western partners, did not uphold this initiative and backed one of the parties in the civil war at the cost of multiplying victims among civilians,” the Russian foreign minister stressed.

Russia insists all conflicts be settled on the basis of international law and the U.N. Charter’s principles. “These are the right to self-defence and the use of force for the U.N. Security Council,” Lavrov said.

Earlier, the minister said Russia and NATO had disagreements on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya. The Russian minister said, “As it known NATO assumed responsibility for implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. We want this resolution to be implemented unconditionally and without any expanded interpretation.”

“We have no common vision with NATO on ways to implement the resolution. But our positions coincide so that there is no alternative to the peaceful settlement and to the political process. The sooner the process starts the better,” Lavrov stressed.

“The mediators’ efforts, taken by the African Union and the U.N., are aimed at facilitating this process. Russia also involved in the mediation process on the request of our G-8 partners.” “The Russian special representative is working on this. Our ministry is also involved,” Lavrov pointed out.

He stressed that Russia would intensify these efforts “because none wants the current situation to continue eternally”.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fog Rasmussen said the Alliance’s actions in Libya did not violate U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

Rasmussen said he acknowledged the differences but insisted, “The spirit of Lisbon lives on and continues to guide us. Cooperation is the best choice, partnership is the only path forward”.

Russia has repeatedly criticized the alliance's bombing of Libya, saying it violates a U.N. resolution calling for a no-fly zone and the protection of Libyan citizens.

“Since NATO started to execute the U.N. resolution ... we have discussed how strongly international law has been respected,” Lavrov said.

Rasmussen stated that was the case. “Everything NATO does ... is in full compliance with the U.N. mandate.”

Asked whether Muammar Gaddafi should stay in office, Rasmussen said, “It is for the Libyan people to shape the future of their country. The mission we are conducting aims at meeting very specific military objectives.” “I would stress that the only acceptable solution is to accommodate the legit aspirations of the Libyan people and see a transition to a fully fledged democracy.”

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