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Beijing opposes use of force in Libya

RIA Novosti

14:16 22/03/2011

BEIJING, March 22 (RIA Novosti) - China called on Tuesday for an immediate end to a Western-led military operation in Libya.

"Beijing opposes the use of military force and considers it necessary to respect Libya's sovereignty, its unity and territorial integrity," Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu said at a news conference in Beijing.

All parties must "immediately cease fire and resolve issues through peaceful means," she added.

China was one of five countries, including Russia, that abstained from a UN Security Council resolution adopted on Thursday. The resolution imposes a no-fly zone over Libya and allows "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from leader Muammar Gaddafi's attacks on rebel-held towns.

Operation Odyssey Dawn entered its third night of airstrikes on Libyan air defenses on Monday. Libyan state television has reported that at least 60 civilians have been killed and over 150 wounded.

Beijing has been severely critical of the military intervention, with the Communist Party's flagship newspaper on Monday comparing it to the U.S.-led invasions on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin voiced similar views on Monday, likening the UN resolution to a "call for a crusade." The comments were swiftly rebuked by President Dmitry Medvedev, who described them as "unacceptable."

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