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Russia ready to mediate Libya solution - envoy

RIA Novosti

15:53 07/06/2011 MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Mikhail Margelov, Russia's special envoy to Africa, says Moscow is ready to mediate between rebels and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Margelov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian parliament's upper house, was holding talks with Libya's opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) in rebel-held Benghazi on Tuesday.

"Russia has a unique position in Libya right now," Margelov said in comments carried by state news channel Rossiya 24. "We haven’t broken off our diplomatic ties with Tripoli, we have established our relations with Benghazi and we are ready, if it proves possible, to mediate a solution to the Libyan political dialogue."

"The Libyan political elite and its society are now split. They are as if on two opposing banks: somebody looks to Benghazi while others look to Tripoli," he said.

"Russia wants to build a bridge between the two banks."

A member of Margelov’s delegation earlier said the envoy would meet with TNC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil, military affairs chief Omar al-Hariri and foreign policy chief Mahmoud Jibril.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced Margelov's visit during the G8 summit in Deauville in France last month.

Last week, NATO extended its mission in Libya by 90 days. The coalition intervened in the North African country in March under a UN mandate to protect civilians against forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Rebels control much of Libya's east, but Gaddafi's forces retain control of most of the west of the country.

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