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No Russian refuge for Qaddafi

Source : Agencies
MOSCOW | 18 Jul 2011

Russia’s foreign minister says his country will not offer asylum to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi if he steps down.

Sergey Lavrov was asked about the possibility at a news conference Monday and said “the answer is negative.”

Russia’s envoy for Africa Mikhail Margelov visited Libya in June and said that Qaddafi has lost his legitimacy.

At the same time, Russia has criticized the United States and other countries for recognizing the rebel leadership as the legitimate government of Libya, saying they were taking sides in the insurgents’ five-month-old war to oust Qaddafi.

“Those who declare recognition stand fully on the side of one political force in a civil war,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow on Monday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced US recognition of the rebels on Friday, while in Turkey for a meeting of an international contact group on Libya — a major diplomatic step that could unblock billions of dollars in frozen Libyan funds.

Russia and China have taken a softer line toward Qaddafi, and neither attended the contact group meeting.

Qaddafi is refusing to step down despite the defections of members of his inner circle.

Reports have circulated that Qaddafi is seeking a negotiated way out of the crisis, but in a speech on Saturday he described the rebels as worthless traitors and rejected suggestions that he was about to leave the country.


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