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Libyan rebels ask Russia to open mission in Benghazi

RIA Novosti

16:24 08/06/2011 CAIRO, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - Libyan rebels have invited Russia to open an information mission in Benghazi, Russia's special envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov said on Wednesday.

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

"I reported to Moscow to the president [Dmitry Medvedev] about the proposal, which was made by the Transitional National Council, to open an information mission, or a mission on contacts and relationships," Margelov said. "Decisions of this kind in our country are made by the president, so we'll wait for a decision."

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

The Libyan opposition thanked Russia for not imposing a veto on the UN Security Council resolution on Libya.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

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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