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South Africa-Russia meeting on Libya was "successful"

Arab World Materials 5 July 2011 18:53
South African President Jacob Zuma returned from Moscow on Tuesday
South Africa-Russia meeting on Libya was "successful"

South African President Jacob Zuma returned from Moscow on Tuesday, saying he held a "successful" meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the crisis in Libya, dpa reported

"We emphasized the importance of starting negotiations urgently, and we requested NATO to assist (to) persuade the TNC (Transitional National Council) to remove some of the preconditions that are making it hard or impossible to start with the negotiation process," Zuma said in a statement.

The council is insisting Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi must resign for there to be an end to the fighting.

The South African leader is part of an African Union ad hoc committee on Libya, which has been increasingly critical of NATO's military campaign in the North African country.

"We agree that the military solution is not the correct way to resolve problem," said Zuma, noting that Russia and the AU were in agreement on the need to find a negotiated way out.

During his time in Moscow, Zuma also met NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was on a visit to Russia.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated bluntly on Monday that Russia did not support the Western alliance's bombing campaign, aimed at weakening Gaddafi.

"I will tell you honestly, we do not have a common view with NATO on how the resolution is being fulfilled," Lavrov said, about a UN Security Council resolution from March, which authorized a no-fly zone over Libya.

"But we have a complete agreement in positions on how there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution (in Libya), there is no alternative to a shift to peaceful talks there," he said

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