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Russia urges UN probe of Libya deaths

Posted by seumasach on December 20, 2011


20th december, 2011

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has asked for a thorough investigation into the deaths of civilians during NATO’s military intervention in Libya earlier this year.

Churkin told reporters that the NATO alliance has so far failed to provide the UN Security Council (UNSC) with details on civilian casualties in its military operation in Libya.

The Russian envoy said, “Unfortunately, NATO adopted a pure propaganda stand, claiming zero civilian casualties in Libya, which was completely implausible, first of all, and, secondly, not true.”

Churkin said he would demand an investigation of the matter during the UNSC’s next meeting on Thursday, adding the UN could help with the probe. “We hope that NATO is going to re-visit this entire problem, is going to investigate this matter,” he said.

The Russian diplomat went on to criticize UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for suggesting last week that NATO had fully complied with its UN Security Council mandate to protect civilians in Libya.

“We expect the [UN] secretariat to be more careful when it passes its judgment on very important issues which the Security Council is dealing with,” Churkin said.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said last week that the alliance had no figures for civilian casualties in its bombing campaign, but has taken “every possible precaution to minimize the possibility of civilian casualties.”

Libya’s UN envoy Ibrahim Dabbashi said last week that he thinks there is no need for a NATO investigation. He said over 40,000 Libyans died in the country’s civil war and that a few civilian casualties lost their lives due to the NATO attacks.

Russia and China have repeatedly accused NATO of overstepping its mandate of “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians during its military intervention in Libya.

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