West in "medieval crusade" on Gaddafi, Putin says

China, Russia criticize Western coalition's air strikes on Libya, despite not vetoing UN Security Council resolution.

By REUTERS
March 21, 2011 15:25
1 minute read.
Russian  President Vladimir Putin

putin 311 REUTERS. (photo credit: REUTERS)

TRIPOLI - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday a UN resolution authorising military action in Libya resembled "medieval calls for crusades" after Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes.

As diplomatic tempers over the campaign flared, officials in Tripoli said a missile intended to kill Muammar Gaddafi had destroyed a building in his fortified compound, which was heavily bombed in 1986 by the Reagan administration.

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"It was a barbaric bombing," said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, showing pieces of shrapnel that he said came from the missile. "This contradicts American and Western (statements) ... that it is not their target to attack this place."

There was no comment on the strike from attacking forces.

In an appearance on Libyan television on Sunday, Gaddafi promised his enemies a "long war" after the UN-authorized intervention in the uprising against his 41-year rule of this oil producing African desert state.

"The resolution is defective and flawed," said Russia's Putin, whose country did not use its power to veto the resolution at the United Nations. "It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for crusades," Putin added.



China's official newspapers on Monday stepped up Beijing's opposition to air attacks on Libya, accusing nations backing the strikes of breaking international rules and courting new turmoil in the Middle East. China also did not veto the UN resolution.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa addressed the situation in Libya during a Monday speech in Cairo, as Western forces continued air strikes on Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

"We fear a humanitarian crisis; thousands of lives are at risk" in Libya, Ban said.

He welcomed Arab league support at what he called a "critical juncture," adding that "we need one global voice" in order to maintain a no-fly zone.

"The UN stands read to help protect civilians and promote reform," Ban said, mentioning Yemen and Bahrain, as well as Libya. "You cannot hold back demands for democracy and reform."


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