Stop Libya bombings, please talk, says India (Lead)

March 21st, 2011 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) India Monday urged the West to stop bombing Libya and suggested negotiations instead to end the violent revolt against long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

But External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna made it clear that New Delhi was no friend of Gaddafi, who has ruled his country since 1969, and added that “the aspirations of the people of Libya” should be respected.

India was one of the five UN Security Council members that last week abstained from voting on a resolution advocating a no-fly zone over Libya, a move that has led to the Western military onslaught.

“The need of the hour is cessation of the conflict,” Krishna told reporters here.

He said India viewed with “grave concern the ongoing violence and strife and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya.

“We regret the air strikes that are taking place.”

He said the air strikes, mainly by France and the US, had the potential to “harm innocent civilians, foreign nationals, diplomatic missions and their personnel in Libya.

“India calls upon all parties to abjure violence and the use of threats and force to resolve the differences.

“India believes that all parties should engage themselves in a peaceful dialogue through the United Nations and other regional organisations and come to a settlement.”

Since the bombings began, India, China and Russia have come out against the Western intervention. Moscow has called for a halt to the “bloodbath”. Brazil and Germany also abstained from the Security Council vote.

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