Russia doubts statement that NATO not targeting Libya’s Gaddafi

Russia doubts the statements by the NATO coalition that NATO airstrikes are not targeting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

“Moscow perceives with growing alarm the reports about victims among civilians. The statements by the coalition members that the airstrikes against Libya are not aimed at physically destroying Muammar Gaddafi and members of his family cause serious doubts,” the ministry said in a statement.

The NATO airstrike on a wealthy residential area in Tripoli on Saturday killed Gaddafi’s youngest son, Saif al-Arab, 29, who was a postgraduate student majoring in economy. The airstrike on Gaddafi’s house also killed three of his grandchildren as well as several friends and neighbors, Libyan state-run JANA news agency earlier reported.

“The disproportional use of force, all the more so, beyond the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution No. 1973, which in no way stipulates the replacement of the Libyan leadership, is leading to harmful consequences and the death of civilians,” the statement said.

“We are again calling for strict compliance with the provisions of the decisions made by the international community on the Libyan conflict, for an immediate ceasefire and the start of a political settlement without any preconditions,” the statement said.

A total of 14 of the 28 NATO countries are taking part in the operation Unified Protector in Libya, which includes airstrikes, a no-fly zone and naval enforcement of an arms embargo.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

MOSCOW, May 1 (RIA Novosti)

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