UN head in Russia to talk Libya, other conflicts

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2011 7:55 AM
UN head in Russia to talk Libya, other conflicts

Russian support is vital in tackling global crises, including the situation in Libya, the U.N. secretary-general said Friday during a visit to Moscow.

Ban Ki-moon said at the start of talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would like to discuss Libya, as well as other regional conflicts.

"Russia has a special role to play" in addressing global and regional conflicts, climate change, food crises and humanitarian issues, Ban said as the two leaders sat down at Medvedev's suburban residence.

Russia abstained in the United Nations vote that sanctioned the international military operation in Libya and has voiced concern about civilian casualties and excessive use of force since the operation began. Moscow has expressed worries that NATO's mission could evolve into a ground campaign, saying that wasn't allowed by the U.N. resolution.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov wouldn't specify what points were raised during Medvedev's talks with Ban concerning Libya, but he emphasized the need to strictly observe U.N. decisions.

"We strongly support the necessity to fully respect the U.N. mandate, particularly when it comes to situations when force is used," Lavrov told reporters after the meeting.

Lavrov said that Medvedev and Ban also discussed dealing with the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the world's second-worst nuclear accident. He said that they emphasized the need to boost nuclear security.

Ban said that he was counting on Russia's support in continuing his work as the U.N. chief.

"As a member of the G-8 and the G-20, Russia in an unique position to support the U.N. role in global governance," he said.