BRICS unhappy with Libya civilian deaths

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The BRICS group of emerging powers are unhappy with developments in war-torn Libya where many civilians have been killed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday.

"Unfortunately, what is happening in Libya cannot satisfy us," he told a joint press conference with his Brazilian counterpart in Moscow carried by Russian television.

He was speaking on behalf of the BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"The main objective as mandated by the UN Security Council is to defend the civilian population but they are dying in large numbers," Lavrov said, adding that he saw no end to "this sad situation".

Thursday, Russia finally joined key Western countries in recognising as the legitimate government of Libya the insurgency that toppled Moamer Kadhafi, a Moscow ally.

Moscow and China had abstained during the March vote in the Security Council that authorised the NATO air campaign in Libya.

But Russia later vehemently denounced the way the operation was conducted while calling for the departure of Kadhafi.

In Libya, fighters advanced on one of Kadhafi's last remaining bastions on Sunday, as Libya's new leaders called for the ousted strongman to stand trial in his homeland when captured.

A commander of the fighters said talks aimed at securing the peaceful surrender of Kadhafi's forces in Bani Walid had been abandoned and an assault on the oasis town southeast of Tripoli was imminent.

© 2011 AFP

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