Russian envoy to NATO warns against Libya 'occupation'

26th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's envoy to NATO said Saturday that any ground operation in Libya would be tantamount to an occupation, stressing that the military campaign must stick to the UN Security Council resolution.

"Holding a ground operation will be qualified as an occupation of Libya and this directly contravenes the resolution passed by the UN Security Council," NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin told the RIA Novosti news agency in Brussels.

NATO's Libya operations must "carry out the already fairly broad terms of the resolution, not going beyond the permitted boundaries," Rogozin was quoted as saying.

Russia abstained from last week's Security Council vote allowing a no-fly zone, while opting not to use its veto, and President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed concern about the "indiscriminate use of force."

Earlier this week, a Kremlin's foreign policy adviser, Sergei Prikhodko, said Russia believed a ground operation in Libya would become inevitable if the air strikes became bogged down.

Medvedev in a phone call on Thursday urged his US counterpart Barack Obama to avoid civilian casualties and to limit the international operation to the wording of the UN resolution.

But in a rare rift, Medvedev publicly rebuked Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for using unacceptable language after the strongman premier harshly criticised the operation and compared it to a medieval call to crusades.

© 2011 AFP

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