Tripoli denounces Russian report of 'suicide' plan

15th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libya on Friday denounced a Russian envoy's suggestions Tripoli had a "suicide plan" to blow up the capital if rebels were to seize it, the official Libyan news agency Jana said.

It said the Libyan foreign ministry had demanded an explanation of the report from Moscow.

"These statements attributed to the Libyan prime minister (Baghdadi al-Mahmudi) are a tissue of lies and have absolutely no connection with the truth," the ministry said.

In an interview with Izvestia daily newspaper, Kremlin envoy Mikhail Margelov said: "The Libyan premier told me: if the rebels seize the city, we will cover it with missiles and blow it up."

Margelov met the Libyan prime minister last month but did not meet Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi whom rebels have been fighting for five months to oust.

"I imagine that the Kadhafi regime does have such a suicidal plan," Margelov said, adding Kadhafi still had plentiful supplies of missiles and ammunition.

The envoy, who has had rare access to senior Libyan officials, questioned reports Kadhafi could be running out of arms in the drawn-out conflict.

Kadhafi had still not used a single surface-to-surface missile, he argued.

"Tripoli theoretically could lack ammunition for tanks, cartridges for rifles. But the colonel has got plenty of missiles and explosives."

On Friday, Libya's foreign ministry said "these suggestions do not serve relations between Libya and Russia and to not contribute towards advancing efforts to bring about a peaceful solution" to the crisis.

Russia and China abstained during a UN Security Council vote on Resolution 1973 allowing Western intervention in the crisis on the side of the rebels.

Moscow, which has called for Kadhafi to leave, has maintained its stand opposing the NATO-led bombing of Kadhafi forces. On Wednesday it rejected an invitation to join the contact group on Libya meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Russia maintains the Security Council is the sole legitimate body to act in the north African conflict.

© 2011 AFP

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