Foreign intervention in Libya could fuel terrorism: Russia

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Tuesday that the Western-led military campaign in Libya could fuel international terrorism and called for respect of international law.

"If the situation worsens, then we will face new cases of international terrorism and other events which we would like to avoid," he told a press conference in Algiers after talks with his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci.

Medelci meanwhile said that the Western air strikes on Moamer Kadhafi's forces in neighbouring Libya were disproportionate and called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities".

Medelci also accused countries taking part in the UN-mandated military campaign in Libya of having "worsened the crisis".

The Algerian minister said the air strikes went beyond the objective of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which mandated the operation to protect Libyan civilians.

Lavrov raised the spectre of terrorism "if we lose control of the situation" in Libya.

The Russian minister warned that going beyond the objectives set in UN Resolution 1973, essentially protecting Libyan civilians through the imposition of a no-fly zone, "can create conditions for these new threats".

"Respect of international law must be the main criterion," Lavrov said. "We must avoid a situation where, through a double standard policy, we fuel new passions and new outbreaks of violence," Lavrov said.

And Medelci called for "an objective assessment" by the UN Security Council on Thursday of implementation of Resolution 1973 to ensure that there be "no change of objective," citing a "political objective" by Western powers which he did not define.

The Algerian chief diplomat said Libya was going through a "deep crisis which worsened with the use of air power which we deem disproportionate in relation to the objective fixed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1973".

He renewed Algiers' call for "the immediate cessation of hostilities and of foreign interventions to spare the lives of our Libyan brothers".

Libyans should be allowed to "find a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis that respects and preserves their unity, territorial integrity and full sovereignty," he added.

Earlier Tuesday, Russia also said it wanted to see an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

"We urge (the sides) to do everything to end the violence," Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in Moscow after talks with his US counterpart Robert Gates, adding that Moscow believed Libyan civilians had been killed in the Western air strikes.

Russia abstained in last week's UN Security Council vote on Resolution 1973.

Lavrov, who arrived here late Monday from Cairo, was due to hold talks with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

© 2011 AFP

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