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UN Chief 'Concerned' Over Libya Death Toll

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over reports of a rising number of civilian casualties in the Libya conflict -- including those reportedly caused by NATO air strikes.

Without specifically naming any side in the conflict, in a new statement Ban called on "all parties" to use "extreme caution" in the battle.

No figures were given about the possible extent of the casualties since the Libya conflict erupted in February.

The UN chief has previously been a strong supporter of the NATO air campaign in Libya, which was approved by the UN Security Council in March.

But NATO air attacks targeting Muammar Qaddafi's regime have drawn criticism from Security Council members including Russia, China, Brazil, India, and South Africa, who have alleged that NATO's actions have gone beyond the UN resolutions on Libya.

In his statement, Ban said he believed that there is no possibility of a military solution to the Libyan crisis.

Ban said a "cease-fire that is linked to a political process" was "the only viable means to achieving peace and security in Libya."

compiled from agency reports