Russia, NATO say still at odds over Libya

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Russia and NATO on Monday said they were still at odds over the Western air campaign in Libya after talks between Russian leaders and the Alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

"So far, there is no common understanding over how the resolution is being implemented," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, referring to the UN Security Council resolution that paved the way for the air campaign.

Lavrov and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier held talks with Rasmussen in the Black Sea city of Sochi in a bid to overcome their differences and find a peaceful solution to the Libya crisis.

Lavrov said they were also joined by South African President Jacob Zuma who earlier had a bilateral meeting with Medvedev and like Russia wants a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Russia abstained in the resolution vote at the Security Council but has since expressed growing anger over the duration and intensity of the NATO-led air strikes against targets of Moamer Kadhafi's Libyan regime.

Last week Russia was particularly angered by a direct French arms drop to rebels fighting Kadhafi's forces and the two sides made no attempt to hide their differences after the Sochi talks.

"We consider the arms embargo (under the UN Security Council resolution) to be unambiguous," said Lavrov. "Any weapons deliveries are a violation of the resolution," he added.

"They (NATO) have a different opinion -- that the resolution can let anyone do anything."

Rasmussen however vehemently defended the arms drop and said it was in line with the resolution.

"The delivery of weapons has taken place as part of protection of civilians and the ability to protect themselves against attacks," he told reporters.

"So far we have successfully implemented the resolution."

© 2011 AFP

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