Moscow regrets western mission over Libya
Moscow regrets the attack from a range of European countries on Libya which is being conducted "with reference to the hastily adopted UN Security Council resolution," official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich said on Saturday, RIA Novosti reported.
The new UN Security Council resolution on Libya was adopted on Thursday; it encompasses a no-fly zone and "all necessary measures" against forces loyal to Libya's strongman Muammar Gaddafi. Paris has taken the leading role in coordinating the world's response to the tumult in Libya and takes efforts to halt Gaddafi's attacks on the poorly armed rebel forces.
French air forces are defending the rebellious Libyan city of Benghazi from the troops loyal to Gaddafi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday. French aircraft have been carrying out wide-ranging reconnaissance missions across Libya all afternoon. Since the beginning of the push, the French aviation has destroyed four government tanks in the neighborhoods of Benghazi.
The U.S. Navy has three submarines outfitted with Tomahawk missiles in the Mediterranean prepared to participate in operations against Libya, a U.S. defense official said on Saturday. Later, the U.S. ABC TV channel announced the U.S.A. has started launching tomahawk missiles at Libya targeting tanks and other sites.
NATO members Britain, Denmark, Spain and Canada, along with the United States, have also pledged planes to a mission over Libya, while Qatar said it would participate in the plan.
"We once again call on all of the Libyan conflicting parties as well as on those who take military efforts in Libya to do their best to avoid manslaughter of civilians, and to halt fire and violence as soon possible," a statement by Lukashevich issued on the ministry's website said.
"We demand that comprehensive measures to provide security for foreign diplomats and their families are taken," his statement said.
Russia is confident that cessation of the bloodshed in Libya is indispensable for the beginning of efforts to settle the conflict, Lukashevich said.
Sarkozy said he does not rule out peace talks with Gaddafi but only after total cessation of fire.