UN Chief Expects Int'l Community to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Libya
    2011-03-25 04:33:06     Xinhua      Web Editor: Xu
 
UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Thursday said that he expects the international community to continue to work hard to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage in Libya, in the wake of military actions against the North African country.

The secretary-general made the statement in his briefing to the UN Security Council on the implementation of Resolution 1973, which authorized a no-fly zone over Libya.

"The international community has acted together to avert an even worse crisis," he said. "I expect the international community to continue to exercise full diligence in avoiding civilian casualties and collateral damage."

The resolution, jointly presented by France, Lebanon, Britain and the United States, was adopted on March 17 with 10 voting in favor and five abstentions. China and Russia, the two permanent members with veto power in the Council, and Brazil, Germany and India, the three non-permanent Council members, abstained from the voting on the draft resolution.

Resolution 1973 requests the secretary-general "to report to the Council within seven days and every month thereafter on the implementation of this resolution."

"In all my meetings, public and private, I took special care to stress that action under Resolution 1973 is governed by an over- riding objective -- to save the lives of innocent civilians," Ban said.

Nearly 100 civilians have been killed so far in the airstrikes launched by major Western powers, Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said in the capital Tripoli on Thursday.

Western powers including France, Britain, the United States, Denmark and Italy have launched several rounds of airstrikes on Libyan targets since Saturday.

Ibrahim told reporters in Tripoli that Libya's telecommunications centers and state radio station will be targeted by a new round of airstrikes.

The spokesman urged the United Nations to "stop any kind of action" against "civilian targets."

"Resolution 1973 also reaffirms Libya's sovereignty and territorial integrity and explicitly foreclosed any 'occupation' of Libyan territory," said Ban, who just returned from a trip to Egypt and Tunisia.

"These issues dominated discussions during my recent travels," Ban said. "Authorities in Egypt and Tunisia were deeply concerned about their nationals still in Libya and the heavy burden of caring for refugees at their borders, as well as the daunting task of reintegrating nationals who had left the country."
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