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China says it held meeting with Libyan rebel leader

BEIJING - A Chinese diplomat met the leader of the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council fighting to oust Muammar Gaddafi, Beijing said on Friday, its first confirmed contact with the group.
The terse statement from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not disclose details of the talks between Beijing's ambassador in Qatar, Zhang Zhiliang, and Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of the Council that is trying to offer itself as a credible temporary alterative to embattled Gaddafi.But the meeting itself was an indication that Beijing wants to keep open lines of communication with the rebel forces that could supplant Gaddafi, even as it urges a political solution to the conflict.
The two men met in Doha, the capital of Qatar, and "exchanged views on developments in Libya," Hong said in a statement on the ministry's website (www.mfa.gov.cn).
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