Gaddafi in talks with rebels: Russian envoy

Muammar Gaddafi`s regime is in direct talks with Libya`s rebels, a Russian envoy has indicated.

Updated: Jun 18, 2011, 09:01 AM IST

Tripoli: Muammar Gaddafi`s regime is in
direct talks with Libya`s rebels, a Russian envoy has
indicated, as the strongman`s son said the way out of a
months-long conflict is the staging of elections.

Russia`s Mikhail Margelov, in Tripoli for one day
after visiting the rebels in their Benghazi stronghold last
week, made the remarks following a meeting Libyan Prime
Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi.

"I was assured at Friday`s negotiations that direct
contacts between Benghazi and Tripoli are already underway,"
Margelov said on Thursday, quoted by Russia`s ITAR-TASS news
agency.

"The Libyan prime minister told me that a round of
such contacts concluded yesterday in Paris," he said, adding
French President Nicolas Sarkozy "has been informed of the
outcome of these contacts."

He did not disclose the nature of the talks, which
could not be confirmed by the rebels` National Transitional
Council.

Mahmudi said Gaddafi`s departure from power was a "red
line" that cannot be crossed, despite growing international
calls for him to quit and the armed insurrection against his
41-year rule.

"Of utmost concern to us in any dialogue is the unity
of Libya," Mahmudi told a news conference in Tripoli.

His remarks came after Gaddafi`s son Seif al-Islam
said the only way to break the deadlock was to hold elections
in coming months.

"Elections, immediately and with international
supervision. It`s the only painless way to break out of the
impasse in Libya," the son told Italian newspaper Corriere
della Sera.

PTI