Moscow blasts Ban Ki-moon’s defense of Libya action – too little too late

RIA Novosti

Moscow criticized UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for defending the NATO operation in Libya and ignoring data on civilian casualties collected by a number of UN member states, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

Last week Ban came to the defense of NATO in response to charges the alliance had overstepped its mandate to impose a no-fly zone to protect civilians and instead openly sided with the rebels, enabling them to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

“Security Council resolution 1973, I believe, was strictly enforced within the limit, within the mandate,” Ban told reporters in New York. “This military operation done by the NATO forces was strictly within (resolution) 1973.”

“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statements that the alliance’s actions in Libya were conducted in strict accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 1973, directly contradict the facts and are at odds with the estimates of many members of the Security Council and other UN members,” Lukashevich said.

Ban Ki-moon must “take into account the positions of all the UN members, especially when the issue concerns sensitive events on the global agenda.”

Ban’s attempt to present “the operation in Libya as a model for future crisis resolution is cynical to say the least,” Lukshevich added.

On Monday, Russia urged NATO to investigate civilian deaths in Libya from its bombing campaign, saying the alliance’s claim that there were no civilian casualties is untrue.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he has asked NATO to give “a definitive report” to the UN Security Council summing up its activities in Libya. But he said “unfortunately” the alliance only provided “piecemeal, rather perfunctory reports… (that) were not very informative.”

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