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China voices worry about Nato civilian casualties in Libya
Date 27/03/2011 22:09  Author webmaster  Hits 1159  Language Global
27 MAR 2011

Valentina Pop

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - China's vice-foreign minister Fu Ying has voiced concern that Nato's anti-Gaddafi operation will cause "even more civilian casualties" in Libya.

China's abstention in the UN Security Council vote on Libya on 18 March allowed the US-and-French-led international coalition to launch Operation Odyssey Dawn. Under a new agreement, Nato will this week take over military command and launch the second phase of action under the title 'Unified Protector.'

When asked by EUobserver on Friday (25 March) at the Brussels Forum if China supports Nato's new role, the country's vice-foreign minister, Fu Ying, said: "We don't support military action against Libya, as we think this will cause even more civilian casualties."

Speaking earlier at the event, a symposium organised by US think-tank the German Marshall Fund, Fu explained: "We stayed away from a veto because the Arab League had very strong feelings about this [enforcing a no-fly zone] and we never vote against the interests of development countries."

She added that China's extraction of 36,000 Chinese nationals from Libya in just eight days was "the largest evacuation we've ever done" and a "wake-up call" on improving consular protection for the growing number of Chinese citizens living abroad.

On the economic impact of the Arab spring, China is worried that the longer the turmoil goes on, the more the "stability of supply and prices of oil and gas" will be affected.

Nato has meanwhile appointed a Canadian general, Charles Bouchard, to run military action. A Nato official described the last four days of hand-over talks in Brussels as "a madhouse," with France and Turkey at odds on issues including the mandate for hitting ground targets.

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