Russian envoy: Gaddafi and Libyan rebels in direct talks
Representatives of Moamer Gaddafi's regime are in direct informal talks with leaders of the Libyan rebels, a Russian diplomatic envoy said Friday, DPA reported.
"In Tunis there are contacts between representatives of the Libyan opposition and the government of the country," said Mikhail Margelov, a special envoy of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Similar non-formal contacts are taking place in France, Germany and Norway, Margelov said in a statement reported by the Interfax news agency.
Russia is calling for immediate formal negotiations between the two sides to bring an end to armed conflict in the country, he said.
"The Libyans need to get around the negotiating table, and it's not important what kind it is, round, square or something else. And in the framework of that table there needs to be worked out a mechanism for an end to hostilities," Margelov said.
The removal of Gaddafi from power can be achieved only by talks between the regime and the rebels, not by outside forces, he said.
The Russian diplomat made the comments at a news conference after making a fact-finding trip to the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Russia has condemned Gaddafi's violent crackdown on the rebels but has also criticized NATO airstrikes.