Indonesian Foreign Minister Expresses Concern Over Violence in Libya

23 March, 2011 | Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa has expressed concern over the violence in Libya - both the attacks by Gaddafi forces against the local people and the air assaults by coalition aircraft to implement the UN`s no fly zone resolution.

"I am concerned that the situation in Libya has led to a justification of violence as a tool to solve the problem there," Marty said here on Tuesday (22/3). He said, in the end, the conflict in Libya should be resolved through political dialogue. "Looking at the violence there, it is hard to imagine that there will be conditions suitable to conduct such a dialogue," he said.

The Minister called on the coalition forces, in executing its mandate from the UN Security Council, to make civilians` security in Libya their top priority. "The implementation of the UN resolution about Libya must be in line with the spirit of protecting civilians and not create new problems," he said.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama has reiterated the US demand for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down, stressing that the goal of the international military operation in Libya was to protect its citizens.

Speaking during a joint news conference with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago on Monday, Obama said the UN-sanctioned operation was aimed at averting "the humanitarian threat posed by Col. Gaddafi to his people."

The United States could not "simply stand by with empty words" while Gaddafi, who had "lost his legitimacy," was "carrying out murders of civilians" and "threatened more," the U.S. president said. "It is U.S. policy that Gaddafi needs to go," he added.

Obama said the United States would soon hand responsibility over to allies who will maintain a no-fly zone over Libya, adding that this was "a matter of days," not weeks. "Obviously, the situation is evolving on the ground, and how quickly this transfer takes place will be determined by the recommendation of our commanding officers," he said.

A military operation against Libya`s strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 40 years, began on Saturday. On Monday, Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes on Gaddafi`s positions under a UN resolution authorizing military action to protect Libyan civilians.

Libyan television has reported that at least 50 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded in the UN strikes and that many health and education facilities have been destroyed.

 

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