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Arab League Criticizes Libya No-Fly Zone Implementation


Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa speaks at a press conference during the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York (File Photo)

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa speaks at a press conference during the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York (File Photo)

The Arab League is criticizing the international air assault on Libya, a week after asking the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone on the North African nation.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said Sunday that the United Nations' implementation of the no-fly zone on Libya has gone beyond what the league wanted.

He told reporters in Cairo that the league wants to protect civilians, not bomb them.

An activist of an anti-Kremlin opposition group, The Left Front, holds a poster reading 'Hands off Libya' during his picket at the NATO representative office in Moscow, Russia, March 19, 2011

An activist of an anti-Kremlin opposition group, The Left Front, holds a poster reading 'Hands off Libya' during his picket at the NATO representative office in Moscow, Russia, March 19, 2011

Separately, Russia called on the international community to stop what it called the "indiscriminate" use of force in Libya, saying it was killing civilians.

The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement Sunday that said the air raids on Libya have included attacks on non-military targets, killing 48 civilians and wounded more than 150 others. Russia also announced it is evacuating some of its diplomatic staff and other citizens from Tripoli.

Both China and Russia abstained when the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Thursday which authorized "all necessary means" to protect Libyan civilians and enforce a ceasefire.

The African Union also called on the international community to show restraint. A panel of five AU leaders had planned to travel to Tripoli on Sunday to meet with Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, but the trip was canceled.

Meanwhile, Pope Benedict issued a statement, urging military and political leaders to consider the safety of Libyan citizens and ensure their access to humanitarian aid.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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