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China calls for ceasefire in Libya

world Updated: Mar 22, 2011 21:03 IST

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China has called for ceasefire in Libya expressing concern over civilian casualties in the military strikes by allied forces in areas controlled by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"China noticed reports of civilian casualties from the multinational military action against Libya and is very concerned with this," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a news briefing.

China is opposed to "abuse of force causing more civilian casualties".

According to reports from Libya at least 64 Libyans had been killed and 150 others wounded by the missiles and bombs fired by the foreign forces over the weekend.

The majority of Libya's civil airports and seaports were destroyed.

"The UN resolution on no-fly zone over Libya aimed to protect civilians. We oppose abuse of force causing more civilian casualties and more serious humanitarian disasters," said Jiang.

China along with India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa abstained from voting at the UN Security Council expressing reservations.

On Saturday, France, Britain and the United States launched air strikes against Libya.

Libya has reportedly demanded its armed forces to stop military action.

"We again call on relevant sides to cease fire immediately and resolve the Libya issue in a peaceful manner," Jiang said, voicing support for the diplomatic efforts of the special envoy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the African Union and Arab League.

She reaffirmed relevant countries should follow the objective and principle of the UN Charter and international laws, respect Libya's sovereignty, independence, unification and territorial integrity.

"We believe the current crisis should be sorted out through dialogue and other peaceful means.

The future of Libya should be decided by the Libyan people themselves," she said.

Asked to comment on the UN Security Council meeting on Libya Thursday at the request of the Gaddafi government, Jiang said China, as rotating chair of the UN body, was doing its duty in a fair and transparent manner, Jiang said.

According to the Security Council rules and precedents, the emergency meeting on Libya is still "under discussion," she said, adding that whatever action the organisation ultimately takes will be decided by all parties.