Halt hostilities in Libya, says India

"The need of the hour is cessation of the conflict," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here. He said India viewed with "grave concern the ongoing violence and strife and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya.

"We regret the air strikes that are taking place." He said the air strikes, mainly by France, Britain and the US, had the potential to "harm innocent civilians, foreign nationals, diplomatic missions and their personnel in Libya.

"India calls upon all parties to abjure violence and the use of threats and force to resolve the differences.

"India believes that all parties should engage themselves in a peaceful dialogue through the United Nations and other regional organisations and come to a settlement."

The minister, however, made it clear that India was in no way siding with Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi. He said there was a need to "respect the aspirations of the people of Libya", where a mass revolt erupted last month against the four decades rule of Gaddafi.

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