23 Mar 2011

West accused of exceeding UN mandate in Libya

10:13 am on 23 March 2011

The Libyan government has condemned attacks by western forces attacks as exceeding a United Nations' mandate to enforce a no-fly zone.

Libyan authorities say a naval base and a fishing village near the capital Tripoli have been among the targets of a third day of strikes by coalition forces led by the United States, Britain and France.

The international forces began bombarding parts of the country on Saturday to enforce a United Nations Security Council resolution agreed last week.

The resolution aimed to target air defences, enforce the no-fly zone and authorised the use of "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

The BBC reports that, increasingly, the Libyan government is arguing that the air strikes go far beyond the protection of civilians and far beyond what the UN Security Council resolution allows.

A spokesperson, Musa Ibrahim, said Libya was the victim of an imperialist western plot to destabilise yet another Arab country and to exploit its oil.

He warned that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb would, in the end, be the real beneficiary of the "crusader aggression against Libya" and that the West would come to regret its decision to go to war in the North African country.

No right to interfere, says India

India says the coalition has no right to interfere in Libya's affairs and has stepped up its condemnation of the military strikes on Colonel Gaddafi's forces.

India, along with China and Russia, abstained from the UN Security Council vote to authorise military action, Reuters reports.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told lawmakers that whether a regime changes will depend on the people of that country.

China has again called for an end to fighting in Libya, expressing "deep concern" at reported civilian casualties and warning of a "humanitarian disaster".