Suspecting that attacking powers had begun a covert process of “regime change,” there has been a growing concern among developing countries that the West should strictly abide by the United Nations mandate of protecting Libyan civilians, by using air power.

In an apparent response to Sunday night's attack on the compound of Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi, South Africa President Jacob Zuma said on Monday that his country did not support “the regime change doctrine” in Libya. He added that countries enforcing the ‘no-fly zone' over Libya should exercise restraint.

“South Africa says ‘no' to the killing of civilians, ‘no' to the regime change doctrine and ‘no' to the foreign occupation of Libya.”

The heavy aerial bombardment, which the Qadhafi regime said had caused 64 civilian deaths, came under fire, when it was criticised by Amr Moussa, the Arab League Secretary General.

“Differs from aims”

On Sunday, Mr. Moussa said: “What happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives. What we want is the protection of civilians. Protection, not shelling more civilians.''

Recognising that the Arab League's objections could severely undermine the legitimacy of the air campaign, British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to Mr. Moussa, and later said that the two had “agreed that the protection of civilians was paramount.”

Reservations

Signalling the deep reservations with the manner in which air strikes against Libya were being handled, Turkey's defence minister Vecdi Gonul has publicly criticised the conduct of France.

“It seems impossible for us to understand France being so prominent in this process. We are having difficulty in understanding it being like the enforcer of United Nations' decisions,” Mr. Gonul said.

Away from the world of diplomacy Libyan opposition said on Monday that its forces recaptured a part of Ajdabiya, which Col. Qadhafi's forces had earlier seized. Troops loyal to the Libyan leader were heavily attacking the western city of Zintan, eyewitnesses said. An AFP report said Col. Qadhafi's forces stormed the rebel-held city of Misrata near Tripoli killing at least 40 people.

Qadhafi's son dies

DPA reports:

One of Col. Qadhafi's sons has died in a hospital in Tripoli, opposition websites and Arab media reported on Monday. Khamis Gaddafi was reportedly injured on Saturday when a Libyan air force pilot purposefully crashed his jet into the Bab-al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, where Col. Qadhafi and some of his relatives are staying. Khamis died of burns sustained in the attack, the Arabian Business news website reported.

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