India backs UN sanctions against Libya
New York: Joining other members of the UN Security Council in backing sanctions against Libya, India has said it is going with the consensus for referring the situation to the International Criminal Court though it would have preferred a calibrated and gradual approach.
The Council late Saturday voted 15-0 to adopt Resolution 1970 imposing a comprehensive arms embargo, a travel ban and freeze of assets on the Gaddafi regime. This is the first time a country has been unanimously referred to the Court by the Council.
Council members called for the full implementation of sanctions in an effort to stop Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi from further killing civilian protesters seeking his ouster. Over 1,000 people are reported to have been killed in anti-government protests in Libya.
Explaining India`s vote, the country`s Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri said as India is not a member of the International Criminal Court it would have preferred a calibrated and gradual approach.
Of the 192 members of the United Nations, 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 on Saturday also called for such a referral and strengthened this view, he said: "We have, therefore, gone along with the consensus in the Council."
India, Puri said, has been following with serious concern the developments in Libya, which have resulted in loss of numerous lives and injuries to many more.
"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 Indian nationals and their assets in Libya, Puri urged the authorities there to ensure their safety and welfare and facilitate 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 abandoned Gaddafi.
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