Lavrov: impact of Libya crisis unpredictable
Laaska News March 26,2011
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov paid short visits to Egypt and Algeria this week in the thick of the coalition operation in Libya.
Even though the Russian foreign minister was reported to be visiting Egypt and Algeria to cement bilateral ties, he talked mostly about the Libyan crisis and its impact on the rest of the region.
Moscow believes that the use of force against civilians from Gaddafi’s troops is unacceptable. However, air strikes at Libyan facilities are at odds with the international law too. Air bombardments of Libya by western forces may have unpredictable consequences for the rest of the world. During his visit to Algeria Sergei Lavrov said that any Security Council resolution should be based on the international law.
Russia has backed the initiative of the Arab League calling for a no-fly zone over Libya in order to protect civilians. Preventing casualties among civilians underlies UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Whatever action the international community chooses to take regarding this or that conflict should be based on the international law. The world community should prevent new outbursts of violence which might emerge because of double standard policies and should see to it that tensions do not escalate out of control.
Discussing the conflict in Libya was suggested by Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelsi. Politicians and journalists in Algeria, he said, are concerned about Libya, fearing a repetition of the Libyan scenario in other countries of the region, including Bahrain, Yemen and Algeria proper. Radical forces in Libya may pose a serious danger, particularly in light of threats from Muammar Gaddafi to open all military depots and supply Libyans with weapons so that they could defend their country against a foreign enemy. Experts fear that driven to extremes by strikes from local and foreign troops, the armed Libyan militants will be extremely hard to deal with.
The situation looks particularly alarming amid the recent aggravation in Israel, including a terrorist act at the bus station and new clashes on the Palestinian border.
As he discussed Libya with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, Sergei Lavrov expressed hope that countries taking part in the operation were acting for the good of the Libyan people and in the interests of ending the bloodshed.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed out at a Security Council session on Thursday that the UN was concerned about civilian casualties and violations of human rights and international law in Libya. Ban Ki-moon called for fast and well-considered moves in handling the crisis in Libya. About 340,000 people have left Libya since the crisis started and up to 250,000 more may flee the country in the near future, the UN chief warned.
As the coalition operation in Libya gathers pace, countries of North Africa are beginning to protest against it. During his visit to Cairo the Russian foreign minister witnessed a rally in support of Muammar Gaddafi which took place in front of the Arab League offices on Tahrir Square. 30 Egyptians stood with slogans calling for an end to the foreign intervention in Libya. The protesters attempted to attack Ban Ki-moon’s motorcade as the US chief was meeting with Arab League leader Amr Moussa. Sergei Lavrov found it more than a challenge to get through to the UN leader, but everything ended up peacefully this time.