News

Russia Accuses Libya of Training Syrian Revolutionaries

Margaret Besheer

Russia has accused Libya of training Syrian opposition fighters in Libyan camps and then sending them back to Syria to attack the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.  Russia’s United Nations ambassador made the charge during a meeting Wednesday of the U.N. Security Council in which the Libyan prime minister participated.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his government had previously expressed concern about the proliferation of Libyan weapons beyond that country’s borders after the fall of the Gadhafi regime last October.  He said now it is no longer just arms that are going abroad.

“We have received information that in Libya, with the support of the authorities, there is a special training center for the Syrian revolutionaries and people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government.  This is completely unacceptable according to all legal bases.  This activity is undermining stability in the Middle East.  We think al-Qaida is in Syria.  And, therefore, there is the issue, should the export of revolution, is that not turning into the export of terrorism?,” Churkin said.

Ambassador Churkin did not detail what information he had that pointed to training centers for the Syrian opposition.

Russia has been especially unhappy with how NATO and the international community implemented Security Council resolutions, mandating the protection of Libyan civilians during the fight for liberation from the 42-year long dictatorship of Moammar Gadhafi.

In council discussions of how to proceed in trying to stop the nearly year long government crackdown in Syria, Russia has repeatedly invoked Libya as a bad example and worked to prevent any kind of international interference in Syria.

The Russian envoy also raised Moscow’s concerns about possible civilian casualties caused by the NATO strikes in Libya.  This drew the ire of his American counterpart, Susan Rice, who accused him of raising what she said was this misleading accusation yet again.

"I regret that our Russian colleague has found it necessary to raise this old canard yet again in the Security Council regarding NATO, but since he has, allow me please to respond.  The International Commission of Inquiry on Libya concluded that NATO "conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties," Rice said.

She stressed that NATO cooperated with the inquiry established by the U.N. Human Rights Council and was not found to have committed any violations.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdelrahim El-Keib said his government had conducted its own investigations into possible civilian casualties caused by NATO and had received cooperation from the organization. He appeared satisfied.

But in what appeared to be a direct rebuke to Russia and China for their vetoes against Security Council action on Syria, the prime minister said he hoped Libya would not be used as an excuse any longer to prevent action where it is needed.

"I hope that the reason for raising this matter will not be to impede or prevent the international community from interfering in the situation of other states where their peoples are being massacred and killed at the hands of their rulers," he said.

The United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, was finally able to enter Syria on Wednesday. She met with the Syrian foreign minister and visited the besieged town of Homs and its hardest hit district, Baba Amr.  Her spokeswoman told VOA that Baba Amr was "completely devastated," the town was deserted, and that gunfire could be heard within earshot of the U.N. delegation.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs