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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow against leading role in Libyan mediation says foreign minister

RIA Novosti

17:32 07/06/2011 OSLO, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow will not play the role of main mediator in resolving the Libyan conflict as it believes this role should be played by the African Union, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"We are not trying to assume the leading role in mediation... Our efforts, including the visit by our special envoy Mikhail Margelov to Benghazi, are aimed at forming favorable conditions for getting agreements between the sides involved, with the principal role played by the African Union," Lavrov said.

Margelov, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Parliament's Upper Chamber, held talks on Tuesday with the Libyan Transitional National Council head Mustafa Abdul Jalil, military affairs chief Omar al-Hariri and foreign policy chief Mahmoud Jibril, before flying on to Cairo.

Earlier in the day, Margelov told the state news channel Rossiya 24 that "Russia has a unique position in Libya right now."

"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," he said.

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 attack by forces loyal to the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

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