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Russian presidential envoy heads to Tripoli, ready to meet Gaddafi

RIA Novosti

16:19 08/06/2011 MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian presidential envoy to Libya Mikhail Margelov said on Wednesday he was planning a trip to Tripoli and was ready to meet with Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

"I met with Muammar Gaddafi previously, and I am ready to meet with him now as well," Margelov said in an interview with Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy.

Margelov, who heads the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Parliament's upper house, visited the Libyan opposition stronghold of Benghazi on Tuesday for talks with rebel National Transitional Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil and his senior officials.

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

On Tuesday, Margelov told the state news channel Rossiya 24 that "Russia has a unique position in Libya right now." Later on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not play the role of main mediator in resolving the Libyan conflict as it believed this role should be played by the African Union.

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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