“We prevented new Srebrenica in Libya”

TRIPOLI, BRUSSELS -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that the world has prevented a massacre of the sort seen in Srebrenica in 1995 through the intervention in Libya.

Hillary Clinton (FoNet)
Hillary Clinton (FoNet)

"In a single week, we prevented a potential massacre, stopped an advancing army (loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi) and expanded the coalition," Clinton said.

Libyan rebels have accused Gaddafi’s forces of using banned cluster bombs in the city of Misrata.

The rebels have been trying to evacuate civilians from the combat zone by ships and boats to the city of Benghazi.

“The situation is painful. There’s no place to sleep, there’s no water, electricity, there’s shooting everywhere,” the rebels say.

Clinton said after NATO member states foreign ministers’ meeting in Berlin that all parties agreed on the way that the conflict in Libya should be solved.

The U.S. secretary of state added that information that Libyan forces were using heavy weapons in Misrata were worrying.

“The fact is that we have reached a solid and sustainable consensus about our goals among all NATO members, which is necessary in order to achieve them. I have spoken in detail with many colleagues regarding concrete steps and we all need to make an effort in order to isolate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and protect the Libyan people. I have to say that all the things Colonel Gaddafi and his forces are capable of doing do not surprise me, that’s a worrying information and it’s one of the reasons why fighting in Misrata is so difficult, because everything is happening in urban zones. This represents a big challenge both for NATO and the opposition,” Clinton pointed out.

“NATO exceeded UN mandate”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has, on the other hand, accused NATO of exceeding the UN mandate and called for emergency action to politically solve the conflict.

The Russian minister said in Berlin that he was against use of “excessive force”.

"We believe that it is extremely important to put the situation onto a political track and switch to political-diplomatic methods in settling the problem as urgently as possible. In that sense Russia supports African Union’s initiative and we believe that additional use of force might lead to new civilian victims,” he stressed.