Russia's Lavrov meets with Qaddafi in Libya

Other News Materials 24 December 2007 17:31 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi met with the Russian foreign minister in Tripoli on Monday to discuss bilateral relations and international issues.

"We share plenty of objectives," Sergei Lavrov said after the meeting, during which he handed over a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin. " Russia appreciates Libya's initiatives to resolve conflicts on the African continent and to promote integration processes in Africa."

Libya, which became an international pariah following its support for worldwide terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s, was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in October of this year. The African state will serve on the UN Security Council for two-years, starting from January 1.

The Security Council role came as Libya attempts to integrate itself more closely into the international community. The country has given up its quest for nuclear arms and renounced terrorism some four years ago.

The five permanent members of the Security Council - France, Britain, China, the US and Russia - have the right to veto any candidate, but no objections to Libya's seat on the Council were raised.

Lavrov had earlier said that Russia welcomed Libya's non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council, adding that his country was ready to cooperate with Libya "based on common approaches to most international issues."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin earlier said it was important for both countries to "focus on tapping the impressive potential of cooperation in the oil and gas sphere," adding that Russia's companies Gazprom and Tatneft have launched the development of oil fields in Libya.

Libya was bombed by U.S. planes in 1986 after then-president Ronald Reagan ordered the strikes in retaliation for the country's alleged involvement in a bombing of a nightclub in Berlin. Two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman lost their lives in the nightclub blast.

The Middle East country was also alleged to have taken part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people. Libya formally accepted responsibility for the blast in 2003.