China, India, Russia & Turkey Among Nations Critical of Attack on Libya
While there may have been somewhat of an international consensus, at least among members of the United Nations Security Council, for limited military action against Libyan forces loyal to dictator Muammar Gaddafi to stop him from killing his own citizens who’ve risen up against him, many nations big and small have expressed reservations and even outright opposition and condemnation of the NATO-led attacks. Chief among these are China, India, Russia and Turkey.
A statement from the Chinese foreign ministry read: “China has always opposed the use of force in international relations… China has noted the latest developments in Libya and expresses regret over the military attacks on Libya.” The statement also affirmed China’s respect for Libyan “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.” “We hope Libya can restore stability as soon as possible and avoid further civilian casualties due to an escalation of armed conflict,” it added.
India urged an immediate end to the air strikes being carried out by warplanes from many leading Western powers, including France, Britain and the United States. Indian external affairs minister SM Krishna called for a peaceful resolution to the Libyan conflict.”We view with grave concern the ongoing violence, strikes and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Inida,” Krishna told reporters. “India calls upon all parties to abjure violence and the use of threat and force to resolve the differences. I think the need of the hour is cessation of armed conflict.”
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin slammed UN Security Council resolution 1973, which authorizes the establishment of a no-fly zone for Gaddafi’s forces over much of inhabited Libya, as a “medieval call to crusade.” “The resolution by the Security Council, of course, is defective and flawed,” Putin said. “To me, it resembles some sort of medieval call to crusade when someone would appeal to someone to go to a certain place and free someone else,” he added. Putin’s use of the word “crusade” drew rare criticism from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who said use of the historically loaded word in a Muslim country was “unacceptable.” “Under no circumstances is it acceptable to use expressions which essentially lead to a clash of civilizations, such as ‘crusade’ and so on,” Medvedev said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also repeatedly expressed his opposition to the coalition military strikes against Libya. “Military intervention by NATO in Libya or any other country would be totally counter-productive,” he told the Anatolia news agency. “In addition to being counter-productive, such an operation could have dangerous consequences,” he added.
Germany, while strongly condemning Gaddafi’s murderous crackdown on anti-government rebels and their supporters, abstained from the UN vote on the resolution authorizing the use of force against Libya, claiming it had “good reasons” for not voting.
Lesser powers have also lined up in opposition to the attacks. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the Western powers of wanting to gain control of Libya’s vast petroleum resources, echoing claims made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez over the weekend. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov agreed, calling the strikes an “adventure” motivated by “petrol and who will exploit Libya’s oil fields.”
Some African nations also expressed their opposition. Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba called the attacks “interference in internal affairs of Africa.” The 53-member African Union opposes “any kind of foreign military intervention in Libya.” South African President Jacob Zuma opined that “operations aimed at enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians should be limited to just that,” rejecting any “regime change doctrine.” Nevertheless, South Africa supports Resolution 1973.
The lack of international consensus on the Libyan strikes has UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon concerned. “It is important that the international community speak with one voice to implement [Resolution 1973],” he stressed. But with so many nations wary of Western actions and intentions, speaking with one voice just isn’t an option right now.
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