Gaddafi’s death should be investigated – Lavrov
Laaska News Oct. 22,2011
© Photo: The Voice of Russia
On Friday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an interview to three Russian radio stations – “Voice of Russia”, “Ekho Moskvy” (“Moscow’s Echo”) and “Radio Rossii” (“Radio Russia”).
Probably, the main news item of the last few days was the death of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi – and, of course, Mr. Lavrov commented on that.
He said that the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death are raising many eyebrows, and they should be thoroughly investigated.
“Under international law, international humanitarian rules are in force during any armed conflict”, the Russian minister said.
“These rules are enshrined in the Geneva conventions. These conventions say that when a participant of an armed conflict is captured, special procedures should be applied with respect to him or her, including medical aid if the participant is wounded. Not to mention that he or she must not be killed.”
“Footage showed the wounded Gaddafi being killed after he was captured,” Mr. Lavrov recalled.
“Gaddafi’s convoy was attacked by NATO planes,” Sergey Lavrov said. “I’ve heard that France’s defense minister had said that the aim of this attack was just to stop Gaddafi and his guards, not to kill them. But, later, Gaddafi was captured and killed by Libyan rebels. That had nothing to do with the no-fly zone – the convoy was a ground-based target. It cannot be called an action to defend Libyan civilians – the convoy wasn’t attacking anyone.”
“Practically the whole Arab world is now gripped with revolutions,” Mr. Lavrov continued. “The term “Arab spring” has already become understood by everyone. However, there are no guarantees that similar events may not happen in any other part of the globe. This can happen any moment. We should do our best for this not to happen, but, if this still happens, we must have a clear-cut strategy of what to do in such a case. The West is now calling what happened in Libya “an ideal scenario of a revolution”. However, Russia believes that when external forces, breaking all international laws and all UN resolutions, interfere into a sovereign country (whatever revolutions may happen there), this scenario is very far from ideal.”
“Some people in the West have already tried to apply this “ideal” Libyan scenario to Syria as well,” the Russian Foreign Minister continued. “Fortunately, they didn’t succeed – the UN Security Council did not approve their draft resolution on Syria, because Russia and China didn’t back it.”
“If that resolution would have been adopted,” Mr. Lavrov said, “the Libyan scenario would have repeated in Syria – though the authors of that draft resolution are assuring us that nothing of the kind would have happened. The vicious thing about the West’s approach to the Syrian problem is that in anything what happens, the West is blaming only Bashar al-Assad and his government. However, the positions of both sides must be taken into consideration.”
“Russia has always condemned using of force by any side in the Syrian conflict – be it the government shooting at protesters, or extremists from the opposition who try to turn peaceful demonstrations into fights.”
One of the questions to Mr. Lavrov came from the Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who recently came to Russia with an official visit.
Mr. Rutte believes that today, peace in the world depends, first of all, on the relations between two superpowers – Russia and the US.
Mr. Lavrov agreed with that, but added that for the Russian-US relations to be more friendly and fruitful, the two countries should quicker get rid of old ideological dogmas.
“There are many places on the globe where both Russia and the US have their own interests – the Middle East, northern Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America,” the Russian minister elaborated, “Sometimes, these interests coincide, sometimes, they differ. Still, it is only in the interests of both countries not to conflict over any disputed issue, but to try to find a compromise. Russia understands US’ interests in Central Asia and in the Caucasus, and respects them. It would be good if the US tries to respect Russia’s interests there as well.”
“However, some current steps of the West are worrying Russia. The fragile balance of arms between Russia and the West may be broken by US’ plans to unveil an anti-missile network in Europe. If these plans are realized, somewhere by 2018 or 2020, this network will present a serious threat to Russia – and Russia will have to take some measures in response.’
“At present,” the foreign minister said, “Russia is practically one step from joining the WTO. All the relevant agreements have already been achieved. Russia hopes to join the WTO in December 2011 – despite the fact that Georgia is against it.”
Mr. Lavrov’s interview lasted for nearly two hours. Besides the above-mentioned topics, he also spoke about Russian-EU relations which have to do with gas supplies, the visa regime between Russia and Georgia, modernizing Russian arms – mostly, on the Kuril Peninsula – and about supporting Russian citizens abroad.