Medvedev meets UN chief as Libya alarm mounts

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President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon amid mounting Russian concern that Western actions in the Libya conflict were flouting UN Security Council resolutions.

Medvedev last week criticised the West for exceeding the mandate of the UN resolution establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and essentially launching a "military operation" in the north African country.

The Russian president told Ban he wanted to discuss ongoing conflicts in Africa, the situation in the Middle East and North Korea in the talks at his Gorky residence outside Moscow.

"There's still a need to undertake plenty of efforts to improve the foundation of international legal order and facilitate the development of democracy and adherence to human rights in various parts of our planet," Medvedev said.

Ban told Medvedev that world leaders had agreed that "the international community should work together very closely, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions."

Speaking after a summit with the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa in southern China last week, Medvedev said a loose interpretation of UN resolutions was a "very dangerous tendency in international relations."

Russia had abstained in the vote on the UN Security Council Libya no-fly zone resolution, refraining from using its veto in a move that drew praise from the West.

But on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed regret that the West was increasingly being drawn into the conflict which threatened to spill into a ground operation.

After talks with Ban, Lavrov did not specifically refer to Libya but admitted that Moscow was concerned about how the UN resolution on the no-fly zone had been used in reality.

"We have discussed in detail such issues like the need to strictly observe the mandates adopted by the UN especially in situations connected with the use of force and the issues related to these mandates being spelled out in a more precise way," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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