UK urges help for civilians trapped in Misrata, say 300 civilians had been killed and a 1,000 injured in the city since late February. Moscow accuses allies of breaching UN resolution.
Tripoli – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has calledon Monday for an immediate ceasefire in Libya as forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi continue shelling rebel-held Misrata, the country’s third-largest town, Radio Free Europe informs. Speaking in Budapest, Ban called for an “immediate, effective ceasefire” and said it was “absolutely necessary that Libyan authorities stop fighting and killing people.”
The UK is to fund the evacuation of 5,000 migrants trapped by fighting in western Libya, the UK’s international development secretary has said according to the BBC. Andrew Mitchell said that Britain would charter ships to get people out of the rebel-held town of Misrata, which has seen more than five weeks of fighting. The minister is attending a UN meeting in New York to discuss the humanitarian situation in Libya. Aid workers and Misrata residents have said the situation there is “dire”.
They have reported shortages of food, power, water and medicine, as forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi intensify their shelling of the city. The UN Deputy Secretary General, Baroness Amos, who is visiting Libya, said thousands of people in Misrata were waiting to be evacuated, and thousands more were in desperate need of medical attention, sanitation, clean water and electricity.
Western forces should cease violating the United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya and maintain the embargo on arms supplies to the conflict zone, Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said on Monday, Ria Novosti informs. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier warned that weapons supplies and ground operations in Libya, regardless of reasons or causes, would be a breach of the Security Council’s resolution. The statement comes in the wake of recent rumors that France was pushing EU countries to the ground campaign in Libya by sending an EU humanitarian-military mission to the troubled North African state. However, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has ruled out any military role for the EU humanitarian mission.
As fighting continued in Ajdabiya and Misrata, a rebel spokesman questioned the commitment of NATO’s mission, CNN reports. Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were bombing Ajdabiya from 40-50 kilometers (25-31 miles) away, Libyan rebel spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah told CNN. The loyalists who were bombing the city “have no problem with the weather conditions there,” referring to unconfirmed reports that NATO airstrikes were halted in the area due to weather conditions. Gadhafi’s forces are using Grad missiles and mortars, “and sometimes we feel that NATO wants to use any excuse out there so they don’t carry out their duties,” he said. Earlier the NATO press office told CNN that it does not discuss ongoing operations and would not confirm or deny any reports. The most official report from NATO states that it conducted 142 sorties on Saturday, of which 42 were strike sorties.
Ahmadinejad: the west is to blame for regional unrest
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the West for unrest bubbling throughout the Middle East and North Africa in a speech Monday on Iran’s National Army Day. “They are trying to foment discord in the region. They are trying to cause destruction and provoke wars between nations and governments in order to sell their weapons,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech translated into English by state-run Press TV.