Russia to hold talks with Libya rebels: official

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Russia expects to hold talks with leaders of the Libyan rebels in Moscow in the nearest future, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

Russia, which is strongly critical of the international campaign against Moamer Kadhafi's regime, said the rebels had been planning to come to Moscow earlier but had to delay their trip.

"Unfortunately, we have received information that the rebel representatives in Benghazi who asked us to hold a meeting in Moscow had to delay their visit for technical reasons," Lavrov said in televised remarks.

"We hope that they will be able to hold such a meeting here with us in the nearest future," said Lavrov.

Lavrov did not name the date for the upcoming visit or say which of the rebel representatives he expected to receive.

Senior Libyan leader Mahmud Jibril held talks in Washington on Friday and met French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on the following day in his bid to gain international recognition for the opposition government.

Russia has refused to accept the rebels as a legitimate power in Libya and still has formal ties with the Kadhafi regime.

© 2011 AFP

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