US: Russian Call for Probe of Civilian Deaths from Libyan Airstrikes a ‘Cheap Stunt’

Posted December 22nd, 2011 at 8:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations Security Council has rejected Russia's call for an investigation into suspected Libyan civilian deaths from NATO airstrikes.

Ambassador Susan Rice called it a “cheap stunt.” She accused the Russians of trying to divert attention from Syria and water down the success NATO had in protecting the Libyan people.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud said there already are two investigations into civilian deaths under way — one by the U.N. Human Rights Council and another by the International Criminal Court. Araud questioned the need for a third probe while he pointed out there is no investigation of the situation in Syria.

NATO has not been able to confirm that it caused civilian casualties in Libya. But it says its airstrikes played a major part in the uprising that toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi in October.

In Libya Thursday, some of the fighters who helped overthrow Gadhafi turned over control of a major border crossing with Tunisia to the Libyan interior ministry. The crossing was shut down for more than a month because of clashes between the former fighters and Tunisian authorities.

The border crossing is a major point of entry of imports into Libya. Turning over control to the interim government is a major step in restoring civilian authority and calm to Libya.