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An article by Robert Bridge
Russian push to investigate Libyan civilian deaths “cheap stunt” – United States

As Russia submits a draft resolution on Syria to the UN Security Council, Washington’s response to a call by Moscow for an investigation into civilian deaths in Libya raises some eyebrows over the question of human rights.

23 December 2011

Locals inspect a damaged house in the Libyan coatal town of Zliten, 150 kilometres (95 miles) east of Tripoli, that a government official said was destroyed in a NATO aerial attack in which a mother and two children were killed on August 4, 2011.( AFP Photo / Imed Lamloum)

The updated Russian draft resolution on Syria will be finally ready on Friday, according to Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin who said the draft is unlikely to satisfy particular members of the UN Security Council.

"Our intention and wish is to make the Council come out from a single position," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Churkin said a Security Council-mandated investigation is the only way to support NATO claims that it was not responsible for civilian deaths in Libya that occurred during a bombing campaign ostensibly designed under the aegis of the United Nations to protect civilians.

The United States dismissed Russia’s demand for an investigation as “a cheap stunt” to distract attention away from the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters.

This is certainly not the first time a NATO aerial mission has gone awry. Last month, American fighter jets launched a deadly airstrike against Pakistani troops situated on the border with Afghanistan. Twenty-four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the incident, which has brought relations between Islamabad and Washington to all-time low.

Observers hope the heated rhetoric does not interfere with Russia’s revised draft, which urges opposing Syrian parties to immediately stop violence and calls for "a political process which is open for all and is governed by Syrians."

Churkin said the draft is based on "the philosophy that was confirmed by recent positive events", including Syrian agreement with the League of Arab States to let a mission of observers into the country.

We hope they will begin the process as soon as possible and will display restraint,” he said.

The UN ambassador remained optimistic that the members of the Security Council will find a way out of the impasse despite the increased level of rhetoric in the ongoing debate.

"We believe there is the basis for discussion and we are set to continue stubbornly working on it," he said.

Robert Bridge
Russia Today, 23 December, 2011.