NATO campaign aimed at ousting Gaddafi - Russian NATO envoy

NATO operations in Libya are only aimed at bringing down the Gaddafi regime, Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.

NATO forces are leading a military campaign to protect civilians from government troops in Libya, where a civil war has been raging since February.

"These actions have been reduced to [an attempt to] overthrow the Gaddafi regime, not fulfill UN resolutions," Rogozin said. "This is in open conflict with the UN Security Council resolutions."

Russia will formally ask NATO to clarify reports about an imminent ground operation in Libya during a NATO-Russia Council meeting on Wednesday, he said.

Fourteen of the 28 NATO countries are taking part in the operation Unified Protector in Libya, which includes airstrikes, a no-fly zone and naval enforcement of an arms embargo in response to attacks on civilians.

Russia abstained in the UN Security Council vote on the resolution.

Western media reports claim the United States has suggested the Libyan rebels open a representative office in Washington.

[Source: Ria Novosti, Moscow, 24May11]

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