Libya slams UN chief over civilian deaths comments



Libya slams UN chief over civilian deaths comments Tripoli: Libya on Saturday accused UN chief Ban Ki-moon of playing with words after he acknowledged NATO efforts to avoid civilian casualties a day after urging restraint over "unacceptably" high deaths.

"The secretary general has consistently called for restraint and caution to avoid civilian casualties. He of course recognises and appreciates NATO's efforts to avoid civilian casualties," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters yesterday.

In a statement released by his office on Thursday, Ban had sounded the alarm over civilian deaths and called for new efforts to find a political solution between Libya's long-time strongman Muammar Gaddafi and opposition rebels.

Without specifically naming any side, Ban called on "all parties" to use "extreme caution" in the battle.

"The secretary general is deeply concerned by reports of the unacceptably large number of civilian casualties as a result of the conflict in Libya," said a statement.

Ban "calls on all parties to exercise extreme caution in their actions, in order to minimise any further loss of civilian life."

But Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim told reporters early today Ban's statement was "unacceptable" for not singling out NATO for "being responsible for civilian deaths in Libya."

"The only party that must be blamed for the loss of civilian lives is NATO," he said.

PTI