India abstains from UN vote on Libya (Lead)

March 18th, 2011 - 8:49 am ICT by IANS  

United Nations, March 18 (IANS) In a snub to the US, India and four other countries have abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over strife-hit Libya.

Indian Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Manjeev Singh Puri, said Thursday that the vote was being taken without any credible information about the ground situation in Libya, where government forces are trying to crush an uprising against long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

He said in his speech that despite this, the resolution authorized “far-reaching measures” in the North African country.

“We do not have clarity about details of enforcement measures, including who and with what asset will participate and how these measures will be exactly carried out,” Puri said, explaining why India had decided to abstain.

“It is of course very important that there is full respect for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Libya,” he added.

Besides India, China, Brazil, Germany and Russia abstained. The 10 of the 15 Security Council members which voted for the resolution included the US, Britain, France, Gabon, Bosnia, Colombia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal and South Africa.

Puri warned that the financial proposed in the resolution could impact, directly or indirectly, the trade and investment activity of a number of countries, “thereby adversely affecting the economic interest of the Libyan people.”

He pointed out that the UN vote had come at a time when the African Union was sending a high-level panel to Libya to make a serious effort for a peaceful end of the crisis there.

Hundreds, probably thousands, have died in Libya since last month when a revolt erupted against Gaddafi, who has ruled Libya since 1969.

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