Coalition oversteps UN mandate in Libya - Moscow

At a session in Cairo Sunday, the foreign ministers of the Arab League agreed to ask the Saudi-based Arabsat satellite operators to block the signals of all government-owned broadcasting organizations in Libya.

Russia sees this as deliberate trouble-stirring which has no justification in international law.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke about this in Moscow Monday:

"I am at a loss over how my esteemed colleagues in the Arab League could have interpreted Security Council resolution 1973 as a go-ahead to start stifling freedom of speech. I am not taking sides in the civil war that is the Libyan conflict and believe the family of nations must safeguard the freedom of expression and seize on every opportunity to hear from all Libyan quarters."

At a scheduled meeting with the visiting UN envoy for Libya Abdelilah al-Khatyb, Russian diplomats are going to tell him that the anti-Gaddafi coalition cannot be allowed to overstep its UN mandate for the Libya campaign and should also speed up action on the UN initiative for a humanitarian truce in the Libya war.

On Tuesday, Moscow will also host discussions with delegates from Muammar Gaddafi. Talks with the Benghazi-based rebels will have to wait until they have a logistical opportunity to send a delegation to Moscow.

As the NATO-led coalition continues its manhunt for Muammar Gaddafi from the air, the International Criminal Court has moved to get him through legal action. On Monday, the court’s prosecutors asked the judges to issue arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi, one of his sons and the head of his security apparatus.

On Sunday, the chief British military officer General David Richards urged the coalition to widen its menu of targets in Libya, so that Gaddafi has no option but to leave his post and go. Apparently, compliance with the UN resolutions to protect Libyan civilians was not on the general’s mind.

Many international analysts have gone as far as to suggest that the Libya crisis may prompt further moves to reshape the permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

[Source: The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 16May11]

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