Libya to honour UN resolution if Nato ends air strikes: Russia

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Libya is ready to comply with UN security council resolutions if Nato ends its air strikes and the rebels cease hostilities, said Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday.

Lavrov, who said he had met with 'Libyan representatives' in Moscow, only mentioned '(Dr. Muhammad Ahmed) al-Sharif, secretary general of the World Islamic Call Society', whom some media reports described as personal envoy from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Lavrov said Russia was not assuming a mediating role between the Tripoli government and the opposition, backing instead "the intermediary efforts of the UN and the African Union."

"We were told that Tripoli is ready to consider approaches based on the AU's 'roadmap' and comply with the provisions of Resolution 1973," he said. "The only condition," he said, was that "the rebels take similar steps and that Nato stops its air strikes." UN security council resolution 1973, adopted March 17, imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and authorised measures to protect civilians from forces loyal to Gaddafi, but stopped short of authorising ground operations in the North African country.

Russia was one of five countries to abstain from the vote. Russia has repeatedly criticised Nato for going beyond the bounds of the resolution and bombing "civilian facilities" in Libya, including Gaddafi's compounds in Tripoli. The alliance has denied that its air strikes are targeting the Libyan leader, and said that his compounds are used as command centres for attacks against civilians.

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