Gaddafi envoys due in Moscow on Tuesday

Gaddafi envoys due in Moscow on Tuesday

Muammar Gaddafi. (REUTERS/Louafi Larbi)

Moscow (ANTARA News/Reuters) - Representatives of Muammar Gaddafi`s government were expected in Moscow on Tuesday and Russia also hopes to host Libyan rebel envoys soon, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

"We agreed on meetings in Moscow with representatives of both Tripoli and Benghazi. Official envoys from Tripoli will be here tomorrow. Envoys from Benghazi were supposed to be here on Wednesday, but as they informed us, they were forced to ask us to postpone this visit for technical reasons," Lavrov said.

"We hope it will take place in the foreseeable future," Lavrov said, casting Russia as a potential peacemaker.

"We are ready to conduct dialogue with all," he said at a meeting with the U.N. envoy for Libya, Abdelilah al-Khatib.

Lavrov repeated Russia`s call for an end to fighting in Libya and the start of talks. "We are very, very interested in the swiftest halt to the bloodshed in Libya and its transfer into the channel of political dialogue."

Earlier on Monday, the International Criminal Court prosecutor requested arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the Libyan intelligence chief on charges of crimes against humanity.

Although Moscow appeared set on establishing a diplomatic conduit out of Libya`s civil war, analysts were sceptical.

"I think if an agreement doesn`t begin with Gaddafi and his immediate family leaving office it isn`t going to fly with the opposition or with NATO," said David Hartwell, Middle East analyst at IHS Jane`s.

"The ICC warrant today also makes things more complicated. At the same time, we have something of a military stalemate and even a lull," Hartwell said. "What is most likely happening is that some countries are using that to try and build up the rebels while they soften up Gaddafi`s forces with air strikes."

Lavrov suggested on Friday that a resolution of the conflict would usher in a new government but that talks with Gaddafi`s government were unavoidable.

He said "the result of dialogue will be a new political system, but it is necessary to seek agreement also with those upon whom the prospects for calming the situation depend."

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, abstained from the March vote on a resolution that authorised military intervention to enforce no-fly zones.

Russia has accused the NATO-led forces carrying out air strikes of going beyond their mandate to protect civilians, saying the coalition has essentially taken sides in a civil war.

Lavrov also said on Monday that Russia backed an initiative by the U.N. humanitarian coordinator "for the declaration of a humanitarian pause to clarify the situation on the ground and provide aid to the population across all of Libya".

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on May 9 that the way sanctions were being imposed on Libya over the Gaddafi government`s war with pro-democracy rebels had been delaying delivery of supplies to its population.

(U.S008)

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