Global General

China urges restraint in Libya crisis

By Qin Jize and Cui Haipei (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-05-06 07:43
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Beijing - China voiced its opposition to any arbitrary interpretation of the UN Security Council's resolutions on Libya, calling for greater political efforts to reach a cease-fire in the North African country.

Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the UN, told a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Wednesday that the international community should respect the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya.

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"The internal affairs and the future of Libya should be left to the Libyan people to decide, and we are not in favor of any arbitrary interpretation of the Security Council's resolutions nor any actions that go beyond the council's mandate," he said.

He called for the "complete and strict implementation" of Security Council resolutions, adding that the current priority is to come up with a political solution to end the crisis and to establish a cease-fire monitoring system under the leadership of the UN.

Li said that the UN special envoy to Libya, Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, should play a "stronger role" in international efforts to end the conflict.

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin also expressed a similar position, insisting that any military action outside the UN mandate would be unacceptable.

"Unfortunately it must be noted that actions by NATO-led coalition forces also lead to civilian casualties. This took place in particular during recent bombings of Tripoli," he said.

UN Resolution 1973, approved in March, authorized the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians.

Criticism of NATO operations intensified on Saturday when Gadhafi's second-youngest son, Saif al-Arab, and three of Gadhafi's grandchildren were killed in an attack on Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in eastern Tripoli.

However, France's UN ambassador Gerard Araud, whose country is a leader of the coalition, replied that the international community had an obligation to intervene.

Cash-strapped Libyan rebels won a financial lifeline potentially worth billions of dollars from the US and other allies on Thursday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would seek to unlock some of the $30 billion of Libyan state funds frozen in the US to help the rebel movement.

Italy, host of a meeting in Rome of the "contact group" on Libya, said a temporary special fund would be set up by allied nations to channel cash to the rebel administration in its eastern Libyan stronghold of Benghazi.

Agencies contributed to this story.