France denies running Libya regime-rebel talks

17th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

France is not overseeing contacts between Libya's regime and rebels, the foreign ministry said Friday after a Russian envoy said such talks were under way in Paris.

"If there have been direct contacts, we're not involved and we didn't set them up," ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said when asked about Russian special envoy Mikhail Margelov's comments.

Margelov has just returned from Tripoli, where he held talks with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, a leading member of Moamer Kadhafi's embattled regime.

"I was assured at today's negotiations that direct contacts between Benghazi and Tripoli are already under way," Margelov said, quoted by Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency.

"The Libyan prime minister told me that a round of such contacts concluded yesterday in Paris," he said, adding that France's President Nicolas Sarkozy "has been informed of the outcome of these contacts."

The rebel National Transitional Council could not confirm the talks.

© 2011 AFP

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