Russia says Western support for Libyan rebels 'dangerous'
The backing of Libyan rebels by Western powers could lead to further conflict in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.
Speaking during a visit to the Serbian capital of Belgrade, Russia's top diplomat argued that the opposition in Yemen "refuses to sit at the negotiating table because they hope that the West will help them. This is a dangerous position and one that may lead to conflict."
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.
Lavrov also reiterated statements by Russia's NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin, who said on Monday that the actions of Western states in Libya were in contravention of the UN resolution on the North African state.
"The U.N. Security Council never aimed to topple the Libyan regime," Lavrov said. "All those who are currently using the U.N. resolution for that aim are violating the U.N. mandate."
"We urge the Security Council to encourage not confrontation, but the immediate start of talks," he went on.
Yemen has been in a state of conflict since February, when protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule broke out amid unrest across the Middle East. Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds injured in a violent crackdown on protesters by security forces.
BELGRADE, April 19 (RIA Novosti)
BRICS leaders condemn distortion of UN Security Council resolutions on Libya
The leaders of the BRICS nations - Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa
The leaders of the BRICS nations - Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa - believe that any arbitrary interpretations of the UN Security Council's resolutions on Libya are inadmissible, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
"We presume that the UN Security Council's resolutions must be implemented...in accordance with their spirit and to their letter, but not in accordance with arbitrary interpretations which have been made by several states," the Russian president said after Thursday's summit of BRICS member states in China.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.
Despite dozens of sorties carried out by NATO aircraft against Gaddafi's forces, the government troops maintain their combat capability and continue to pound poorly-equipped rebels with heavy artillery and rocket fire.
Medvedev emphasized that the resolution on Libya was aimed to prevent further escalation of the conflict. "But what we finally get is a military operation which is being held not on the ground, but in the air, and in which a range of countries is involved."
The Russian president said that nothing had been mentioned about possible NATO participation in the UN Security Council resolution.
"The resolutions should be implemented in accordance with their content, in accordance with their spirit and letter, the BRICS countries unanimously believe in this."
SANYA, April 14 (RIA Novosti)
France says Libya strikes to increase
NATO should increase military pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi despite the concerns of the BRICS nations, French officials say.
NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Berlin on Thursday amid deepening divisions over the UN-mandated airstrikes against Gaddafi's forces to protect Libyan civilians.
Earlier, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the leaders of the BRICS nations - Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa - believe the situation in Libya should be resolved through diplomatic means.
Speaking after a BRICS summit in the southern China resort of Sanya, Medvedev spoke out against "arbitrary interpretations" of the UN Security Council's resolutions on Libya.
"We presume that the UN Security Council's resolutions must be implemented...in accordance with their spirit and to their letter, but not in accordance with arbitrary interpretations which have been made by several states," the Russian president said.
Dozens of rebels opposing Gaddafi have been killed by NATO-led airstrikes that began last month.
But France, which has taken the lead role in Libya, says military pressure should be stepped up.
"Precision air strikes against the military equipment that allows Gaddafi to terrorize the people should continue," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters in Paris.
He said the decision was approved by the newly formed international contact group on Libya at a summit in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday. The group, which includes Western powers, their Middle Eastern allies and international organizations, demanded that Gaddafi step down and agreed to provide the rebels with "material help."
Meanwhile, heavy fighting has continued along Libya's northern coast, where Gaddafi's forces have been trying to fight off rebels with rockets and small arms.
And finally Spain reaction:
Spanish parliament votes to extend Libya operations
The majority of Spanish parliamentary parties voted on Tuesday to extend the country's participation in NATO's Libya operation by two months.
Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon said the international coalition had to continue its "legitimate intervention in the region" to resolve the conflict.
The conflict can not be resolved by purely military methods and required "political and diplomatic efforts" to secure a lasting peace in the region, she said.
Spanish troops will not become involved in air strikes or a ground operation in the North African country, the minister said.
Chacon put the cost of Spain's three-month participation in the operation at 43 million euros.
Heavy fighting has continued in the port of Misurata, the only rebel-held western city, which Gaddafi's forces have been pounding for days. Government troops are also continuing to attack the key rebel stronghold of Ajdabiya.
An international meeting in Rome next month will discuss the Libya crisis amid calls for NATO to increase pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
MADRID, April 19 (RIA Novosti)