Foreign and Military Affairs

Hu slams use of force, seeks Libyan ceasefire

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-03-31 07:18
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BEIJING - President Hu Jintao called for an immediate ceasefire in Libya on Wednesday to prevent further civilian casualties and to "give peace a chance".

He made the remarks during a meeting with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country has championed the Western-led military attack against Muammar Gadhafi's forces.

Hu slams use of force, seeks Libyan ceasefire
President Hu Jintao meets his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Sarkozy will attend a seminar on the international monetary system on Thursday in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. [Wu Zhiyi / China Daily]

Hu said that the UN resolution on a no-fly zone in Libya was meant to end violence and protect civilians. Any military action that causes a greater humanitarian crisis runs counter to the "original intention" of the resolution.

He reiterated China's opposition to the use of force, and expressed support for any political move to ease the Libyan crisis.

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"History has repeatedly proved that the use of force is no answer to any problem. Instead, it will only make the problem more complicated," Hu said, adding that the ultimate solution lies in dialogue and other peaceful means.

Hu noted that some countries and regional organizations had put forward "constructive" proposals and suggestions to solve the Libyan crisis, which "deserve a positive response".

"Let's give peace a chance. This conforms to the interests of all sides concerned," he said.

China abstained from the UN Security Council vote that authorized the no-fly zone in Libya. But since military action taken by Western coalition forces caused rising civilian casualties, Beijing has become increasingly critical of allied airstrikes.

Besides Beijing, other major players on the global stage, including the African Union (AU) and Russia, have opposed airstrikes in Libya.

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping, who has opposed any military intervention in Libya, shunned the international conference held in London on Tuesday to discuss Libya's future.

Russia has been voicing concern about civilian casualties and excessive use of force since the operation began. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the West on Wednesday against supplying weapons to Libyan rebels and called for a quick end to hostilities.

Yet differences on Libya between China and France have not impaired ties, which both leaders pledged to advance during their talks.

Sarkozy is visiting China to attend a seminar on the international monetary system on Thursday in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.

As France holds the rotating presidency of the Group of 20 leading developed and emerging economies, Sarkozy proposed to hold the French-organized seminar in a Chinese city, seeking to enroll Beijing's support in reforming the international monetary system.

The Nanjing seminar will be attended by finance ministers and central bank chiefs from most of the major economies, and is to be chaired by French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.

The one-day seminar will feature closed-door group sessions and a keynote speech from International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The seminar will focus on strengthening global financial safety nets and liquidity provisions to deal with systemic crises.

It will also discuss the better monitoring of global capital flows as well as boosting the role of the International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights as an alternative reserve currency.

The seminar comes as the global recovery faces major challenges such as Japan's quake-tsunami disaster and ongoing euro-zone debt woes.

After China, Sarkozy is scheduled to visit Japan as the first head of state since the March 11 earthquake.

AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.