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Russian foreign minister to meet Libyan counterpart in Moscow

RIA Novosti

13:04 19/07/2011 MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet his Libyan counterpart, Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, in Moscow, the Russian ministry said.

The sides are expected to discuss the current situation in Libya and the African Union mediation efforts. The meeting will take place on Wednesday afternoon. Other details have not yet been unveiled.

Libya has been rocked by fighting between pro- and anti-government forces since mid-February. An international military operation began on March 19 following a UN resolution and has been extended until September.

UN Security Council Resolution 1970, passed in February, prohibited states from providing any kind of arms to Libya. Resolution 1973, passed a month later, authorized countries "to take all necessary measures" to help protect Libyan civilians.

Russia will not host Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should he choose to step down, Lavrov said on Monday.

Moscow recognizes the Transitional National Council of Libya (TNC) as a negotiating partner, but not as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people, Lavrov said.

His comments follow Friday's declaration by the Libya Contact Group that Gaddafi's regime had lost its legitimacy and recognition of the TNC as "the legitimate governing authority in Libya" until the establishment of an interim authority.

The group, comprised of about 40 states, as well as representative of the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union, said "the Gaddafi regime no longer has any legitimate authority in Libya," and that Gaddafi and his family members must go.

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