Mugabe raps West's 'callous' bombardment of Libya

21st March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday rapped attacks by the United States, Britain and France on Libya and accused the West of twisting the meaning of a UN resolution imposing a no-fly zone.

"The West has been (acting) in the same hypocritical way as before," Mugabe told journalists.

"They interpreted (the UN Security Council resolution) to mean permission under it to bombard any places of their own choice in Libya, including civilian places even.

"Now it is the West which is bombarding Libya and doing it callously and they don't care who dies."

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, said African and Arab countries were mistaken in endorsing the resolution on Libya.

Three African countries -- Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa, all non-permanent members of the UN Security Council -- voted for the resolution to impose a no-fly-zone in Libya. The Arab League also announced its support for the measure.

"There is no reneging on the resolution anymore, it's there, it's a mistake we made," Mugabe said.

"We don't agree with the form of government that was in Libya, but Libya was nevertheless a member of the African Union and we looked forward to it transforming its own system in its own way."

Western forces on Saturday launched air strikes aimed at crippling Libya's air defences and preventing Colonel Moamer Kadhafi's army from attacking civilians in a month-old uprising against his rule.

The US military said the operation had been successful in imposing a no-fly zone over the country.

Mugabe accused Western nations of taking advantage of the unrest in Libya to gain access to the country's oil wealth.

"Now the West is taking advantage of the fact that it has been given that support to let itself in a position in which tomorrow it would be masters of resources of Libya, especially the oil," he said.

"And it is this oil, oil, oil which is the undoing of the Libyan people and we have supported it."

Mugabe was speaking after meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who is in Zimbabwe on a two-day visit.

© 2011 AFP

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