China says Libya rebel leader to visit

By REUTERS
June 20, 2011 10:18

 
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BEIJING - A leader of the Libyan rebel group leading the fight to oust Muammar Gaddafi will visit China, Beijing said on Monday in another step in its efforts to expand ties with opposition forces in the war-divided north African country.

The chairman of the executive board of the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, will visit China for two days from Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a single sentence statement on its website.

China has not taken a firm side in the war between Gaddafi's forces and the opposition groups now encroaching on the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and has said its recent meetings with Libyan government and rebel representatives are part of an effort to encourage a ceasefire and negotiated end to the war.

But courting the rebels so openly has marked a policy adjustment for China, which while never a close ally of Gaddafi, generally avoids wading into other nations' domestic conflicts.

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