05/18/2011, 00.00
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Moscow urges Gaddafi to accept UN resolutions to stop NATO air strikes

The appeal comes after Russia’s foreign minister meets Libyan envoys today at the Kremlin. Moscow urges the rebels to lay down their weapons and start diplomatic negotiations. Libyan Oil Minister Shokri Ghanem abandons Gaddafi and flees to Tunisia.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – Russia has called on the Libyan government to stop shelling civilians. Today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged Tripoli to respect UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and start diplomatic talks with NATO and the rebels. 

The appeal comes after Russian authorities met officials from the Gaddafi regime in Moscow yesterday. According to Lavrov, envoys of the Libyan leader are prepared to accept the UN resolutions, but only if NATO and rebels stop military action.

“If both sides really lay down arms, there will be no reason for NATO to bomb Libya any more. After all, as Russia has stressed more than once, these bombings contradict with the aims which are outlined in UN’s resolutions,” Lavrov said.

"NATO’s airstrikes on Libya are leading to nothing but more casualties among civilians and ruining the country’s infrastructure,” a Russian Foreign Ministry official said.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague plans action against Gaddafi and other senior officials of his regime.

The ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced he was seeking the arrest of Col Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi on war crimes charges.

The prospect of defeat has led another senior Libyan official to defect. Last night, Libyan Oil Minister Shokri Ghanem left the country and is now in Tunisia.

Since the uprising began, a number of top officials and Gaddafi loyalists have jumped ship, seeking asylum abroad. They include Foreign Minister Koussa Moussa, Interior Minister Abdul Fattah Younis and Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

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