Russia ready to hear Libya no-fly zone offers: Lavrov

10th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Russia was willing to listen to proposals for a no-fly zone over Libya, saying Moscow's approval depended on how the system would work.

Lavrov, who previously said Russia opposed any military intervention in Libya, said Moscow would base its decision on a more detailed analysis of the humanitarian situation in the crisis-torn country.

"Yes, of course we hear talk about the idea of creating a no-fly zone in Libya. ... Such zones have been deployed in the past by the Security Council and we already have certain experience in the ways they function," Russia's top diplomat said.

"So if such proposals emerge, we will naturally study them based on existing experience. And this will probably require more precise and detailed information about how the authors of these proposals expect to implement them in practice."

Lavrov said Russia's decision to back the international response depended on which nations would police the no-fly zone and what weapons would be used.

"These are very important things," Lavrov said. "But the most important thing for us now is to receive an objective, independent analysis of what is happening in Libya. And here, the decisive role will be played by efforts of the special representative of the UN Security Council."

The Security Council is expected to hear a report from its special envoy on the human rights situation in Libya shortly.

Lavrov's comments came as NATO defense ministers prepared to meet Thursday in Brussels seeking consensus on intense contingency planning that has included study of no-fly zones, humanitarian missions and other possible military action.

Officials did not comment publicly on their strategy heading into the talks, other than to respond to calls for a no-fly zone by saying the option, though complex and problematic, is under active consideration.

© 2011 AFP

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