4 July 2011 — Morning Star
Moscow urged Western states to stop delivering weaponry to belligerents in Libya today – warning that Nato’s cavalier attitude to international law was undermining efforts to resolve cold war-era differences.
After a previously scheduled Nato-Russia council meeting in the Black Sea city of Sochi Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: ‘We have different views of UN security council resolution 1973 on Libya,’ the resolution that paved the way for the ongoing blitz.
‘Since Nato started to execute the UN resolution we have discussed how strongly international law has been respected,’ Mr Lavrov said.
‘We want this resolution to be fulfilled literally, without expanding its interpretation.’
He pointed out that ‘the arms embargo introduced by the UN security council is explicit, it is stated in the resolution and it goes for the whole territory of Libya.
‘Therefore, all arms deliveries are in violation of this resolution as is the presence of instructors for passing on military knowledge and skills.’
France dropped weaponry to insurgents outside Tripoli last week and Western military advisers are working alongside rebel chiefs in Benghazi.
Some have reportedly been involved in fighting near the front lines.
Mr Lavrov accused Nato chiefs of thinking ‘that the resolution can let anyone do anything.’
He warned that differences over the war in Libya and missile defence are hindering efforts to develop a strategic partnership between Nato and Russia.
‘The dialogue is not proceeding as easily as we expected after the Lisbon summit,’ he said, referring to the meeting of Russia’s president and Nato heads of state in the Portuguese capital last November when the former Cold War rivals decided to forge a closer relationship.
Relations between Nato and Russia have roller-coastered over the past decade, reaching a high point after the September 2001 attacks before plummeting following the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.
Under the Obama administration’s ‘resetting’ of ties with Russia, Moscow has agreed to allow Nato to ship military supplies to Afghanistan through its territory and has co-operated in anti-piracy patrols off the Somali coast.
Russian forces have also trained with Nato in anti-terrorism and naval exercises.
Moscow has also supported UN sanctions against Iran and signed the New Start treaty reducing the ceiling on both countries’ nuclear arsenals.