Russia calls for immediate ceasefire in Libya: minister

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Russia wants to see an immediate ceasefire in Libya and the start of political negotiations, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday.

"We urge (the sides) to do everything to end the violence," Serdyukov said after closed-door talks with his US counterpart, adding that Moscow believed Libyan civilians had been killed in the Western air strikes.

"We are convinced that the shortest path to the safety of peaceful civilians is through an immediate ceasefire and the start of dialogue," Serdyukov said.

Russia abstained from last week's UN Security Council vote approving international military involvement in Libya, which aims to protect civilians against Moamer Kadhafi's forces.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday suggested that Moscow could potentially help mediate a political solution to the conflict.

© 2011 AFP

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