India backs UN sanctions against Libya (Lead)

February 27th, 2011 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
United Nations, Feb 27 (IANS) India joined other UN Security Council members to back sanctions against Libya and to refer the bloody crackdown on anti-government protests to the International Criminal Court.The Council late Saturday voted 15-0 to adopt Resolution 1970 imposing a comprehensive arms embargo and a travel ban and to freeze assets on the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, who has ruled Libya since 1969.

This is the first time a country has been unanimously referred to the International Criminal Court by the Security Council.

Council members called for full implementation of the sanctions in a bid to stop Gaddafi from further killing civilians seeking his ouster. Over 1,000 people are reported to have been killed in anti-government protests in Libya since the middle of February.

Explaining India’s vote, Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri said as India was not a member of the International Criminal Court, it would have preferred a calibrated and gradual approach.

Of the 192 members of the UN, only 114 are members of the court, he noted. Five of the 15 members of the Council, including three permanent members, are not parties to the Rome Statute.

“We, however, note that several members of the Council, including our colleagues from Africa and the Middle East, believe that such a referral would have the effect of immediate cessation of violence and restoration of calm and stability,” Puri said.

Noting that a letter from the permanent representative of Libya Saturday also called for such a referral, he said: “We have, therefore, gone along with the consensus in the Council.”

India, Puri said, has followed with serious concern the developments in Libya.

“We deplore the use of force, which is totally unacceptable. We earnestly hope that calm and stability are restored at the earliest without any further violence,” he said.

Expressing concerns about the safety of Indians and their assets in Libya, Puri urged the authorities there to ensure their safety and welfare and facilitate the departure of those desirous of leaving the country.

Libya’s UN Ambassador Abdurrahim Shalgham welcomed the resolution as a “moral support” for protesters.

“The regime no longer has credibility,” Shalgham told the council. “This resolution will be a signal to end the fascist regime. I urge the Libyans to renounce Gaddafi and denounce his criminal behaviour.”

Shalgham asked the council not to apply sanctions against those who have resigned their positions or have abandoned Gaddafi.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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