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Gaddafi death poses `number of questions`: Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the convoy carrying Muammar Gaddafi posed no danger when attacked by NATO jets and questioned other circumstances of the Libyan strongman`s death.

Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov today said the convoy carrying Muammar Gaddafi posed no
danger when attacked by NATO jets and questioned other
circumstances of the Libyan strongman`s death.

Speaking in a live radio interview, Lavrov added that
Western leaders were premature in celebrating the veteran
dictator`s death.

"The way his death happened poses an entire number of
questions," said Lavrov. "NATO`s actions are also of interest
to us from the perspective of international law."

Lavrov said he heard French Defence Minister Gerard
Longuet say that the NATO jet that fired the missile that took
out Gaddafi`s vehicle "intended to stop and not destroy" the

He then accused the Brussels-based military bloc of
exceeding UN mandates that permitted its forces to enforce a
no-fly zone over Libya and protect civilians.

"There is no link between a no-fly zone and ground
targets, including this convoy," Lavrov said. "Even more so
since civilian life was not in danger because it (the convoy)
was not attacking anyone."

Lavrov also hinted strongly that Russia believed Gaddafi
was killed by the National Transitional Council forces and had
not died from his wounds as some NTC representatives claimed.
"We are forced to rely on facts and international law.

International law says that during armed conflicts...
international humanitarian rules are in effect," Lavrov said.
"The (Geneva) conventions clearly state that as soon as a
participant in an armed conflict is taken prisoner, he is
subject to special procedures," he said.

"The images we saw on television show that he was taken
prisoner while wounded, and then later, once already a
prisoner, his life was taken away."

Lavrov called for an international probe into the killing
and added that Russia was "certain that such an investigation
will be conducted."

Russia had firmly opposed the launch of the Libya
offensive and Lavrov sought to point out today that Moscow was
only following international agreements and not trying to
provoke a confrontation with the West.

"We are not trying to act like a bull in a china shop" in
the North Africa region, Lavrov said.

NATO said today it was unaware Gaddafi was travelling in
the convoy, adding that its airstrike "was conducted solely to
reduce the threat towards the civilian population, as required
to do under our UN mandate. As a matter of policy, NATO does
not target individuals."


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