Protecting civilians in armed conflicts lies with comprehensive, strict implementation of Security Council resolutions: Chinese envoy

08:24, May 11, 2011      

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In order to strengthen protection of civilians in armed conflicts, relevant UN Security Council resolutions must be carried out in a comprehensive and strict manner, Li Baodong, Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said on Tuesday.

"The original intention of Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 (on Libya) is to put an end to violence and protect civilians. We are opposed to any act to willfully interpret Security Council resolutions or take actions that exceed the mandate authorized by SC resolutions," Li told a Security Council open debate on protection of civilians in armed conflict.

"In carrying out Security Council resolutions, efforts must be made to avoid even more civilian casualties," he said.

Resolution 1970 passed by the Security Council in February imposed an arms embargo against Libya and slapped sanctions on members of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's inner circle. Resolution 1973 passed in the following month authorized a no-fly zone over Libya.

Li said that China has voiced deep concern about civilian and property safety during armed conflicts, which is often affected and threatened, and condemned the acts of violence deliberately targeted at civilians.

The protection of civilians in armed conflicts should strictly abide by purposes and principles in the UN Charter. Primary responsibility to protect civilians should lie with the government of the country concerned, said the ambassador.

"The international community and external organizations can provide constructive assistance, but should adhere to principles of objectivity and neutrality, and fully respect the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the country concerned," Li said. "There must be no attempt at regime change or involvement in civil war of a country by any party in the name of protecting civilians."

Li noted that in order to achieve the objective of protecting civilians in armed conflicts, more should be invested in prevention of and solution to conflicts. In volatile and conflicts- ridden regions, the Security Council should take it as a priority to urge the parties concerned to cease hostilities and achieve ceasefire.

"Only by actively promoting political solutions through peaceful means of dialogue and negotiations can civilian casualties be minimized," he said, stressing that military means is not an effective answer to the question.

The ambassador also said deployment of UN peacekeeping operations alone cannot fundamentally address the issue of protecting civilians. In authorizing UN peacekeeping operations, the specific situation of the country concerned and the capacity of the UN should be taken into full consideration.

"The UN peacekeeping mission must avoid taking sides in local political disputes or even becoming one party to the conflicts," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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