Russia not eyeing key mediator role in Libya: Lavrov

7th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia is not aiming to take on the role of main mediator in the Libya conflict, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday after a Kremlin envoy was dispatched to the rebels' stronghold in Benghazi.

"We are not seeking to take on the main role when it comes to mediation in Libya," Lavrov told reporters in the Norwegian capital, insisting that the African Union should go in as the main intermediary in the conflict.

"We have said several times that the African Union has the main role," he said, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

The top Russian diplomat made the remarks shortly after President Dmitry Medvedev's envoy Mikhail Margelov arrived in Benghazi for meetings with Libyan rebel leaders in the first trip by a top Russian official to their eastern stronghold.

An official in Moscow said on Monday that Margelov would meet with rebel leaders but would not travel to Tripoli, contrary to what had been announced previously.

He said however that Margelov's visit was aimed "at getting the parties in the Libyan conflict to talk to each other and find a solution."

"Our efforts ... aim to create the most favourable conditions possible for the parties to reach an accord under the aegis of the African Union," Lavrov added.

In Libya, Margelov told reporters earlier Tuesday that "we have come to Benghazi to facilitate dialogue between the two camps."

"Russia is in a unique position because it already has an ambassador in Tripoli and now we are meeting with the rebel leadership today," he added.

The envoy said on his arrival that he would be in Cairo on Wednesday and added, without elaborating, that he "may eventually travel to Tripoli."

Medvedev said at the G8 summit last month that he would be sending an envoy to Libya, as Moscow seeks to present itself as a potential mediator between the rebels and Moamer Kadhafi's regime and expresses growing alarm at the continued conflict.

Last week, the African Union said it was favourable to Russia playing a role of mediator in Libya.

© 2011 AFP

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