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Libya Operation Strains Relations With USA, Says Influential Russian MP

Moscow, 31 March: The actions of the USA and other coalition countries in Libya contravene the decisions of the UN Security Council, head of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev believes.

"When this noble cause, the protection of people's lives, is twisted and used for one's own purposes, and when some countries, including the USA, clearly strive to get rid of the current regime, the Al-Qadhafi regime, and promote the advancement of opposition forces for this purpose, their actions quite definitely contravene the UN Security Council resolution," he said in an interview to Russia Today TV channel on Thursday (31 March).

In the MP's words, this may have an adverse effect on relations between Moscow and Washington.

"Actions of this kind again and again undermine trust in our relations, and also make Russian support less likely in the future - the support which these countries may need again and again, Kosachev stressed.

At the same time he pointed out that, in general, Russia was not opposed to intervention in the events in Libya. "We support the idea of intervention in the situation, but only in terms of humanitarian intervention with the aim of saving people, protecting lives, and in this sense our position is no different from America's or any other country's," the head of the State Duma committee said.

The Russian PM also expressed the view that there was no structured opposition in Libya, only the crowd opposed to the ruling regime. "The only thing that unites the crowd today is the aim of overthrowing the existing regime, nothing else," he believes. "If we arm this crowd, we risk having new clashes, new civil wars, and other kinds of conflicts within this community as soon as the regime is overthrown," Kosachev added.

"Any intervention in internal conflicts, as we can see on Libya's example, is fraught with very dangerous consequences if it oversteps the bounds of UN Security Council resolutions," the MP stressed.

(A later Interfax report quoted Kosachev saying on Russia Today that he did not rule out a ground operation by the coalition in Libya. In this case, "the coalition forces will be trapped, and it will not benefit either side," Kosachev said, adding: "It would be a defeat for the coalition forces. I would not like this to happen, but at this stage it is a quite possible."

He also expressed the view that Al-Qa'idah would try to increase its influence in Libya, and this would be "a very serious problem". "The revolutionaries will be unable to take the situation under control fast after the fall of the regime, and external forces will get a chance to step in and seize control. Unfortunately, Al-Qa'idah is the best organized third force in the region at present," Kosachev said.)

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