Algeria says Western air strikes on Libya disproportionate

22nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said Tuesday that Western-led air strikes on Moamer Kadhafi's forces in Libya were disproportionate and called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities".

Medelci, reading a statement after conferring with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, also accused countries taking part in the UN-mandated military campaign in Libya of having "worsened the crisis".

The Algerian minister said the air strikes went beyond the objective of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which mandated the operation to protect Libyan civilians.

He said Libya was going through a "deep crisis which worsened with the use of air power which we deem disproportionate in relation to the objective fixed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1973".

Medelci said Algiers was renewing its call for "the immediate cessation of hostilities and of foreign interventions to spare the lives of our Libyan brothers".

He said Libyans should be allowed to "find a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis that respects and preserves their unity, territorial integrity and full sovereignty".

Earlier Tuesday, Russia also said it wanted to see an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

"We urge (the sides) to do everything to end the violence," Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in Moscow after closed-door talks with his US counterpart Robert Gates, adding that Moscow believed Libyan civilians had been killed in the Western air strikes.

Russia abstained in last week's UN Security Council vote that authorized the military campaign aimed at setting up a no-fly zone over Libya and protect civilians against Moamer Kadhafi's forces trying to crush a popular revolt.

Lavrov, who arrived here late Monday from Cairo, was due to confer with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

© 2011 AFP

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