China explains position on UN no-fly vote on Libya

Updated: 2011-04-06 10:43

By Zhang Yuwei (China Daily)

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UNITED NATIONS - China has explained why it abstained, rather than vetoed, a United Nations Security Council vote enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya and authorizing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya.

Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the UN, said China had "serious difficulties" with some issues in the resolution and that the country will always oppose the use of force in international relations.

"China believes military actions would only complicate the situation rather than resolving it," Li said.

He said China has stressed the council should comply with the UN Charter and help resolve the crisis through peaceful means.

"The purpose of passing the resolution was to end violence and protect civilians," he said.

"If the military action caused civilian casualties, it then would create even bigger humanitarian crises."

But considering the proposal of establishing a no-fly zone by the Arab League, the positions of African countries and the African Union, and the special circumstances in Libya, he said, China abstained from the vote rather than vetoed it.

Li was speaking to China Daily after China ended its presidency of the UN Security Council in March.

In March, the council held 16 open meetings and 16 closed consultations, and reviewed problems in Libya, Sudan, the Middle East, Cote d'Ivoire and other hot spots. China also proposed an open debate to seek a comprehensive strategy on Somalia.

As the council president, Li chaired three consultations on Sudan.

In January, a referendum was held in southern Sudan, with nearly 99 percent voting for independence and deciding that south Sudan would become independent in July.

The referendum was one of the results of the 2005 Naivasha Agreement between the Khartoum central government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement.

Since early March, however, several conflicts broke out in the Abyei region, which is claimed by both north and south Sudan. The attacks cost more than 100 lives and displaced thousands.

Li met the secretary-general of Sudan People's Liberation Army, Pa'gan Amum Okiech, and Sudan's permanent representative to the UN, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, to try to resolve the issue.

"With efforts from all fronts, Sudan's north and south agreed to resume talks regarding some outstanding issues and to form a joint commission to investigate the conflicts in Abyei," Li said.

"We hope Sudan North and South will continue negotiations through dialogues to resolve outstanding issues with the principle of mutual understanding and compromises."

China, as one of the permanent members, was president of the council in January 2010. The March presidency shouldered "big responsibilities" in particular with the continuingly evolving situation in the Middle East, said Li.

Li said China supports "a necessary and rational reform" of the Security Council. He said the reform should include not only expansion of its representation, but also improvement of its working methods to maintain its authority, increase its efficiency and strengthen its role.

Li said the reform should give "top priority" to increasing the representation of developing countries, in particular African countries.

The council now has five permanent members - China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the US - which have veto powers.

Li said the core of the reform is to enhance the representation of an equitable geographical distribution of the body to form a more balanced council.

China Daily


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