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Russia Accuses Libya of Aiding Syrian Rebels

Russia’s envoy to the UN claims the Libyan government is supporting a training camp for Syrian rebels.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/8/2012, 5:16 AM

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
Reuters

Russia’s envoy to the United Nations on Wednesday accused the Libyan government of supporting a training camp for Syrian rebels who attack government targets in Damascus.

AFP reported that the allegations by Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin set off a diplomatic furor with Libya's interim Prime Minister, Abdel Rahim al-Kib, during a meeting of the UN Security Council.

“We have received information that there is in Libya, with the support of the authorities, a special training center for Syrian revolutionaries and these people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government,” Churkin was quoted by AFP as having said during the meeting, which focused on Libya.

He added, “This is completely unacceptable according to all legal standards. This activity is undermining stability in the Middle East. We think that Al-Qaeda is in Syria. And now there is the question – is the export of revolution being turned into export of terrorism?”

The Russian envoy also demanded that NATO apologize for the deaths of civilians in attacks in Libya last year and pay compensation. China backed calls for a further investigation into the deaths.

In response, Kib said the Libyan government had investigated all civilian deaths with NATO's cooperation.

“This matter which concerns the blood of Libyans should not be a matter of political propaganda for one country against any other country,” he was quoted by AFP as having told the council.

“I hope that the reason for raising this matter will not be to impede or prevent the international community from interfering in the situation of other states where their people are being massacred,” Kib added.

Russia has been a strong supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad, despite his brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters. Russia and China have vetoed two Security Council resolutions on Syria.