Putin denies rift with Medvedev over Libya

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed allegations that he and President Dmitry Medvedev had a disagreement about Libya, saying they were "close".

"As for the agreement or disagreement of the Russian leadership's views on the events taking place in Libya, in our country, the Russian president heads foreign policy, and there can be no divergence" of views, news agencies quoted Putin as saying while on a visit to Ljubljana.

"I assure you, we are close people and we understand each other," Putin added in reference to Medvedev.

At the same time, Putin added that the president "should formulate the country's position in a corresponding manner", in what appeared to be another dig at Medvedev's position on the international campaign in Libya.

Putin on Monday unleashed a furious verbal attack on last week's UN resolution allowing military action on Libya, comparing it to a "medieval call to crusade".

Russia's prime minister is widely seen as the country's de facto leader, with some analysts predicting Putin's return to the Kremlin as president in next year's elections.

But Medvedev took the rare step of publicly contradicting his mentor, using a hastily-convened briefing at his residence outside Moscow to call the comments unacceptable.

© 2011 AFP

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