BRIC not opposed to military operations in Libya: US
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 22:44
Washington: The Obama Administration has claimed that there is no opposition to its military action to enforce a no-fly-zone over Libya by countries like India, China, Brazil and Russia, despite the BRIC nations now openly criticizing the United States and its partners on the issue.

Responding to questions about criticism from BRIC countries, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the UN Security Council resolution that passed very clearly called for not just a no-fly zone but actions that would protect the Libyan people.

The United Nations was very clear that we believe that in the absence of actions beyond the no-fly zone, we wouldn't be able to achieve that goal.

"In that context, you had Brazil, Russia and China and India abstaining from the resolution -- not opposing it. And (Russian) President Medvedev underscored that again today," Rhodes said.

"So we believe that the resolution itself was very clear, that this was going to include actions that went beyond the enforcement of the no-fly zone to include actions to protect the Libyan people," he said, adding that the US shares the goal of limiting civilian casualties.

"We are certainly taking every care to do so going forward. What we could not tolerate was the risk and level of increased civilian casualties at the hands of the Qaddafi regime," he said.

Rhodes said the need to protect civilians lasts as long as civilians are under risk of attack in the way in which it has been seen them attacked over the course of the last several weeks.

"We believe that Gaddafi should make the calculation that he should leave. We believe that he's lost the legitimacy to lead. We believe that the Libyan have lost confidence in him, so that's our continued position with regard to his legitimacy to lead the country," he said.

Defending the military action, Rhodes said that this was important to protect the civilians from the Gaddafi regime.

"We believe that the reason we took the decision to join this coalition and engage in military activity is because there was an imminent threat (to civilians). Gaddafi had already carried out attacks. His forces were on the move. Within days or hours even, it was expected that he would get to Benghazi... If ever there was an example of an imminent, urgent humanitarian danger, we believed that this was very much in line with that," he said.

"Therefore, we felt the need to take urgent action with the international community to stop the advance of Gaddafi's forces and to achieve this very focused goal of protecting those people, of setting up a no-fly zone so that Gaddafi would not have the advantage and the air assets that he had been using against his own people," Rhodes said.


First Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 22:44

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