Russia hosts Libyan foreign minister for talks

July 20, 2011 17:30

MOSCOW - Russia hosted Libya's foreign minister on Wednesday, pressing ahead with efforts to engage Muammar Gaddafi's government in contrast to what it calls a counterproductive Western "policy of isolation".

Moscow says Gaddafi must give up power but has criticized Western military and diplomatic support for the rebels fighting to end his 41-year rule in Libya, where Russia had billions of dollars in energy, arms and infrastructure deals.

President Dmitry Medvedev, whose Africa envoy has met both rebels in Benghazi and top officials in Tripoli in recent weeks, said on Tuesday there was still a chance for compromise between the warring sides.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Libyan counterpart Abdelati Obeidi met behind closed doors. Obeidi did not speak to reporters as he entered the Foreign Ministry.

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