Moscow largely specified its position on the Libyan issue at the end of last week. The Russian Foreign Ministry official spokesman, A. Lukashevich, said on May 20th that NATO attacks on Libya had been increasingly frequent with more civilians reported killed as a result.The coalition began to more often target such facilities of Libya’s state civilian management as a group of parliamentary buildings and the State Control Committee, which are located in the Libyan capital’s residential quarters… It follows from statements by the US Department of State that NATO seeks a regime change in Libya, said A. Lukashevich…
“We see this kind of free interpretation of the UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 as inadmissible”, says the Russian Foreign Ministry official spokesman in another comment. “We would like to point out that the Russian delegation suggested spelling out the “dos and don’ts” in the course of joint action to settle the situation in Libya when the UN Security Council resolution 1973 was still being drafted. But the western countries chose to ignore our proposals and deliberately stuck to vague wording. They use that wording as a smokescreen now that they are deliver strikes on civilian infrastructure resulting in more civilian casualties, in further worsening the country’s humanitarian situation, boosting the already unprecedented numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons in the region, as they interfere in an internal political conflict in an independent state and openly support one party to the conflict. We again urge the parties to strictly abide by the spirit and the letter of the UN Security Council resolution 1973, to give up the practice of broad interpretation of the resolution provisions to attain the objectives that are absent from the text, to provide opportunities for getting inter-Libyan political dialogue under way to discuss the future of the country. We emphasize that it is only the people of Libya that should decide on the way to follow, to ensure Libya’s state development.”
Russia proceeded from the spirit of that position when it launched consultations – as a permanent member of the UN Security Council – with the direct participants in the Libya standoff. Last week, talks were held in Moscow with Muammar Gaddafi’s representatives. Gaddafi’s position is well-known. He has repeatedly voiced his support for the idea of the “road map” as put forward by the African Union. That “road map” presupposes a simultaneous and immediate ceasefire, including NATO bombing raids; humanitarian aid for Libyans and foreign migrants and refugees; the start of a political dialogue between the parties to the conflict and a search for mutually acceptable ways to settle the crisis; the imposition of a transition period, and also the adoption and implementation of political reforms that would meet the Libyan people’s needs. When in Libya, the President of the African Union also went to Benghazi to speak with opposition officials, but met with the rebels’ unqualified refusal to sit down at the negotiating table. Although the members of the so-called “National Transitional Council” have been promised a pardon, they keep on talking of the proposals of their sponsors from the “contact group”, and it will prove difficult to make them start negotiations.
Still, Moscow has decided to meet “Transitional Council” officials, with the meeting scheduled for May 23rd. There’ve been detailed accounts of just what this “National Transitional Council” looks like. Just what the Libyan opposition proper is, is not quite clear not only to the man in the street. The US Administration has failed to officially recognize the Benghazi-based “National Transitional Council”, although some council officials actually live in Washington on a permanent basis. The US news media quote Robert Gates as saying that he has no idea of what the “Libyan opposition” actually is, save, perhaps, for several people who surface in Washington quire frequently. But the Pentagon Chief has, most likely, played cunning, for he is certainly in the know that, according to The West Point Study, – a multipage specialized research, based on personal files of fighting units in Iraq and Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda’s second-biggest group in the world has settled precisely in Libya, where the “peaceful population” is putting up resistance to Muammar Gaddafi.
Almost all truly independent experts and researchers describe the “opposition” in perfectly the same terms. Members of the Benghazi-based “National Transitional Council” are mostly former Gaddafi’s Cabinet Ministers with connections of long standing in the west, while the fighting “peaceful population” are predominantly illegal armed units, knocked together in different years with the assistance of western services. This is the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, NFSL, which was raised from Libyans who received special training from French and Israeli instructors in Chad. The Front was revived during the Libyan opposition conference in London in 2005 and got a US “blessing” in July 2007. This is also the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, LIFG, which was set up in 1995 by those who fought against the USSR in Afghanistan, and subsequently reinforced by Al-Qaeda activists. These are, besides, the “Muslim Brothers” and the Libyan émigrés’ “twitter children”. These are also tribal supporters of “monarchism” and King Idris, who was enthroned by French special services in olden days and overthrown by Colonel Gaddafi 40 years ago. That “opposition” relies heavily on western military advisers, as well as on officers of private armies, private intelligence agencies, and sham humanitarian organizations specializing in various kinds of special operations.
Given the political landscape, the forthcoming meeting of Russian Foreign Ministry officials with Libyan rebels is no easy matter and one that holds little promise. But diplomacy is known to be the art of achieving the possible. According to the Members of the Russian Parliament’s upper house, the Council of Federation that took part in a televised discussion of the situation in Libya on May 20th, the problem is not so much the Libyan opposition as their sponsors who bend every effort to “save face” despite the fact that their adventure in Libya has reached a dead end.
The Russian MPs feel that other regional forums that have already gained prominence around the world, such as the Asian Parliamentary Assembly of 41 nations, including China, may well become an alternative to the “blind alley” that the policy of the Euro-Atlantic lobby has taken the world to. It would also prove expedient to invite the increasingly stronger Shanghai Cooperation Organization to help untie the Libyan knot.
The prominent Gabonese politician, President of the African Union, Jean Ping is waging a courageous struggle for a political settlement of the Libyan crisis. He has called an emergency summit of the Heads of African States in Addis Ababa for May 25th and 26th to discuss the situation in Libya. “We can see that the UN Security Council resolution 1973… has been trampled underfoot both in terms of the spirit and the letter”, says Jean Ping. The statement of the Head of the organization of 53 African nations is still more convincing now that it’s been reinforced by a similar stand on the issue by Russia, China and other countries defending their right to a sovereign foreign policy.
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation