Russia says key questions unanswered on Libya no-fly zones

14th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's UN envoy said Monday that "fundamental questions" remain on calls for a no-fly zone over Libya as the UN Security Council hit divisions over action against Moamer Kadhafi.

"As far as we are concerned there are some fundamental questions that need to be answered," ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters as he left Security Council talks.

"Not just what we need to do but how it is going to be done. If there is a no-fly zone, who is going to implement the no-fly zone, how the no-fly zone is going to be implemented," Churkin said.

"We have not had enough information. To say 'we need to act quickly,' 'as fast as possible' but not to provide the fundamental answers to those fundamental questions, to us is not really helping. It is just beating the air."

Churkin added that Russia was "open-minded" about no-fly zones and other proposals to end the violence in Libya.

France and Britain have been leading international calls for a no-fly zone, now backed by the Arab League. But Russia and China have led opposition and the United States, Germany and other European nations have expressed doubts.

French ambassador Gerard Araud said a resolution on an exclusion zone was still possible this week.

"There was no total refusal. There were concerns, there were questions, but I think we are moving forward," Araud told reporters.

"I think the problem for us is the urgency. As you know the Kadhafi forces are moving forward so we would prefer to act as quickly as possible," he said.

The Security Council ordered a travel ban and asset freeze against Kadhafi and members of his regime on February 26. It also ordered an arms embargo against Libya and a crimes against humanity investigation into the Libyan leader's crackdown against opposition protests.

© 2011 AFP

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