Tripoli, 8 March: Prime Minster Abdurrahim Al-Kib defended Libya after a bitter attack against it at the UN Security Council from . . .[restrict]the Russian ambassador.
At a Security Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss the role of NATO air strikes during last year’s military intervention in Libya, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin lashed out at Libya, accusing the NTC of training Syrian rebel forces in the country and instigating terrorism.
” We have received information that in Libya, with support from the authorities, there is a special training center for the Syrian revolutionaries and that people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government,” said Churkin on Wednesday. This, he said, was “completely unacceptable according to all legal bases”.
In a clear indication that Moscow is still smarting from the loss of its former ally, Muammar Qaddafi, Churkin also condemned last year’s NATO raids that helped free the country from the Qaddafi dictatorship. “We expect NATO to acknowledge that its air raids caused civilian casualties, to apologize and say that it is prepared to pay the appropriate compensation,” he insisted.
Al-Kib, who was at the Security Council meeting as part of his visit this week to the US, effectively told Russia to mind its own business, accusing it of trying to use Libya’s suffering last year for its own political purposes. He said that a matter “which concerns the blood of Libyans should not be a matter of political propaganda by any country against other countries.”
Over Syria, he accused Moscow of trying to prevent international action against the Assad regime’s brutality, saying that it would not work.
“The reason for raising this matter will not be to impede or prevent the international community from intervening in the situation of other states, where their peoples are being massacred and killed at the hands of their rulers.”
On the matter of last year’s NATO raid, Churkin was also rebutted by the US ambassador to the UN , Susan Rice. She said that saying no international laws were broken and the alliance had cooperated fully with subsequent investigations. She cited the international commission of inquiry on Libya, which concluded that NATO “conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties.”
Last year Russia, along with China, India, Brazil and Germany, abstained on the vote for a no-fly zone over Libya. Moscow and Beijing later accused NATO of overstepping its authority.
Last month, after an attack by protestors on the Russian embassy in Tripoli over Russian support at the UN for the Syrian regime, Moscow demanded that Libyan arrest the demonstrators and try them.