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Rogozin warns U.S. against blitzkrieg in Libya

Dmitry RogozinBRUSSELS. March 1 (Interfax) - A decision whether to use foreign military force in Libya is the exclusive remit of the United Nations Security Council, Russia's ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.

"If someone in Washington is seeking a blitzkrieg in Libya, it is a serious mistake because any use of military force outside the NATO responsibility zone will be considered a violation of international law," Rogozin told Interfax on Tuesday.

"We are aware of discussions being held on this matter within the North Atlantic Alliance, we know about various parties' positions and believe that in any case NATO will be unable to usurp the right to make a decision to use force in Libya," the diplomat said.

The UN Security Council has not made any decision on the use force. "The use of sanctions, let alone armed force, bypassing the Security Council will be a gross violation of international law," the Russian ambassador said.

Commenting on the possible closure of Libyan airspace Rogozin said that "this is precisely the minimum that is possible, from the point of view of the NATO military reaction to the events in Libya."

"But I want to say that even for this to be carried out, and this ban, a ban on the national air force or civil aviation to fly over their own territory, is still a serious interference into the domestic affairs of another country, and at any rate it requires a resolution of the UN Security Council," Rogozin said.

"I am absolutely convinced that Europeans will not adopt this measure without a UN sanction," the Russian diplomat said.

"If someone is going to act in Libya without delving into the details and consequences of this conflict and the development of the situation," they are choosing an unconstructive path, he said.

"This is a merely a civilian, domestic conflict. The signs of a civil war are obvious. Meddling into another country's civil war means creating a problem for many, many years ahead not only for the authority of international law, but also for the entire region in general. And this can, among other things, raise questions about the very existence of NATO: what is this organization that ignores all other nations' opinions when someone needs to get into a war?" Rogozin said.

Although NATO has made no comments yet on its decision to ban flights over Libya, it is discussing such decision with its allies "but again it is being discussed from the position of European countries which demand UN Security Council sanctions for this sort of action," Rogozin said.

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