BRICS speaks out against use of force in Libya

AFP , Thursday 14 Apr 2011

Emerging-nation powers reject use of force in Libya in third annual meeting, intend to continue cooperation in UN Security Council resolution

Leaders from BRICS summit from left.,India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, China's President Hu Jintao, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma pose before a joint press conference at the BRICS summit in Sanya, Hainan Province, China, Thursday, (AP).

The world's five emerging-nation powers spoke out Thursday against using force in Libya and across the Arab world, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev saying force was not authorised by the UN.

"We share the principle that the use of force should be avoided," said a statement by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, released after they concluded an annual meeting in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan.

The talks among the so-called BRICS nations included Chinese President Hu Jintao, his fellow presidents Medvedev of Russia, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Medvedev later said the UN Security Council resolution establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and authorising "all necessary measures" to protect civilians did not endorse the use of military force.

"(Security Council resolutions) should be implemented in accordance with their letter and spirit," Medvedev told reporters after the summit.

"As a result, we essentially have got a military operation. The resolution says nothing about it."

He added the BRICS countries were "absolutely united" on that point.

South Africa was the only BRICS nation to approve the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, which opened the door to coalition air strikes.

The other four countries have expressed concern that the NATO-led campaign -- which aims to thwart Moamer Kadhafi's assault on rebels seeking to end his 41-year rule -- is causing civilian casualties.

All four abstained from voting on the resolution.

Thursday's BRICS statement, however, did not specifically single out the NATO campaign.

"We wish to continue our cooperation in the UN Security Council on Libya," it said.

It added that BRICS leaders meeting in the resort city of Sanya also supported the African Union's mediating initiative to end hostilities in the war-torn country.

"We are of the view that all the parties should resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue in which the UN and regional organisations should as appropriate play their role," the joint statement said.

The summit marked the third annual meeting for the leaders of China, India, Russia and Brazil and the first in the expanded format that included South Africa.

Together, the five countries represent more than 40 percent of the world's population, and their combined GDP accounted for 18 percent of the global total in 2010, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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