Russia, Libya to hold talks at UN assembly: Kremlin envoy

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Russia will hold talks with the Libyan rebels who ousted its old ally Moamer Kadhafi at the United Nations assembly later this month, Kremlin's envoy said on Wednesday, as Moscow hopes to retain a foothold in the energy-rich country.

"Our next contact with the Libyans, with the new leadership, has been scheduled to take place during the General Assembly," Kremlin's Africa envoy Mikhail Margelov told AFP, referring to the UN assembly meeting opening in New York in mid-September.

Russia last week recognised the rebels as the legitimate rulers of Libya and expressed hope that the new authorities would honor the contracts signed with the Kadhafi regime.

Analysts say however that Moscow's efforts to distance itself from the conflict and its tardy recognition of the National Transitional Council mean the most lucrative business contracts would be given to the West which supported the Libyan opposition in its war against Kadhafi.

Speaking at a political conference in the central Russian city of Yaroslavl, Margelov glossed over the fears, instead saying Moscow was in active talks with the new authorities.

"The opposition in Libya is extremely multi-faceted. We are in dialogue with its various segments," he said.

Members of Libya's transitional government have been invited to Moscow for energy talks, Russian officials said.

Margelov, who in recent weeks made several trips to Libya for talks with Kadhafi loyalists and the rebels, said he had no plans to travel to the Libyan capital Tripoli in the near future.

"I have not been given this task so far," he said.

Instead, on Tuesday he would go on a tour of Arab and African countries that will include visits to Morocco and Lebanon, Margelov told AFP, but declined to provide further details.

© 2011 AFP

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