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China's Hu warns Sarkozy on Libya strikes

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China’s President Hu Jintao Wednesday warned French leader Nicolas Sarkozy that air strikes on Libya could violate the “original intention” of the UN resolution authorising them if civilians suffer.

The tough talk from Hu came during a meeting at the start of Sarkozy’s mini-tour of Asia, which will include a G20 meeting on global monetary reform and a stop in disaster-struck Japan.

“The aim of the UN’s resolution is to stop violence and protect civilians,” state television quoted Hu as saying in a meeting with Sarkozy.

“If the military action brings disaster to innocent civilians and creates a bigger humanitarian crisis, that would violate the original intention of the Security Council resolution.”

China has been increasingly critical of the current military operation in Libya, despite not having used its UN Security Council veto to block the resolution approving it. Instead, it abstained from the vote.

France, on the other hand, has taken the lead in the coalition campaign against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi — who is fighting an insurgency against his 41-year rule — along with the United States and Britain.

The air strikes began on March 19 under the resolution approving a no-fly zone over Libya aimed at protecting civilians from the forces of Kadhafi as they battle rebels.

Hu told Sarkozy the use of force was no answer to problems, but would only make them more complicated, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“Dialogue and other peaceful means are the ultimate solutions to problems,” he was quoted as saying.

Sarkozy, meanwhile, said that France also hoped to resolve the Libyan crisis through political and diplomatic means, Xinhua reported.


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