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Moscow decries 'ambiguity' of UN Libya resolution

RIA Novosti

14:07 30/03/2011 MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia did not vote for the UN Security Council resolution on Libya because of its ambiguity and lack of a clear mandate for the use of force, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"We could have backed that resolution had it clearly defined the bounds on the use of force," he said.

The sponsors of the resolution "acted in haste," he said, leading to imprecise, vague wording.

"Now there is considerable ambiguity about the practical implementation of this resolution by the countries that have volunteered to translate it into reality," Lavrov said.

He reiterated Moscow's position that the resolution's overriding priority was to prevent civilian casualties.

The Russian minister warned the coalition against arming the Libyan opposition.

The United States, France and Italy suggested on Tuesday they were prepared to supply weapons to anti-Gaddafi movements.

Russia was not invited to Tuesday's London conference that discussed Libya's future and agreed to set up a group to coordinate all international efforts in the troubled North African country.

Moscow has been critical of the Western-led military operation, claiming on Monday that it was at odds with the UN resolution passed on March 17 to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Russia was one of five countries to abstain from the vote.

On Sunday, NATO began taking command from the United States of all aerial operations to ensure the no-fly zone and an arms embargo in Libya. The transfer of authority will take up to three days and should be completed by Wednesday.

Libyan television has reported that dozens of civilians have been killed and wounded in the strikes and that many health and education facilities have been destroyed. Coalition commanders deny this.

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