Bloomberg News

Qaddafi Won’t Step Down, Russian Envoy Says After Tripoli Talks

June 17, 2011

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi refuses to step down, Russia’s envoy to Africa said after talks with government officials, including Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi, in Tripoli.

“The prime minister said Qaddafi doesn’t intend to resign,” Mikhail Margelov said by phone from Tunis, the capital of neighboring Tunisia, a day after meeting with the Libyan officials. “For the government of Tripoli, they aren’t prepared to discuss the future of Qaddafi.”

The envoy said Mahmudi assured him that officials of Qaddafi’s government were in direct contact with the rebels. Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the rebel Transitional National Council, today denied any direct links with Qaddafi’s government, according to Russian news service RIA Novosti.

Margelov, who held talks with Libyan rebel leaders earlier this month in the port city of Benghazi, said he plans a second round of meetings with representatives of the Transitional National Council tomorrow in Tunis. There need to be “clear rules of the game” to achieve a handover of power, he said.

President Dmitry Medvedev said May 27 that Qaddafi had forfeited his right to govern and that Russia was using its contacts with the regime to persuade him to step down. Russia abstained from the United Nations Security Council vote in March that authorized a NATO-led military intervention in Libya.

Russia isn’t involved in negotiating “any deals of immunity or guarantees” for Qaddafi, though other countries are considering a range of options, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a June 2 interview.

For related information: Middle East Turmoil Special Report: {EXTR <GO>} Top Russian Stories: {TOP RUS <GO>} Coverage of Russia and Libya: {TNI RUSSIA LIBYA <GO>}

--Editors: Willy Morris, Jennifer Freedman

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in St. Petersburg at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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