The Russian President’s Special Representative for Africa Mikhail Margelov has ended his trip to Benghazi, the stronghold of the Libyan opposition. He met with Chairman of the opposition National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul Al Jeleil and Chairman of the council’s Executive Board and Head of Foreign Affairs Mahmoud Jebril, whom he described as serious and responsible people supporting the idea of Russia’s mediation in Libya. Addressing reporters after the talks, Mr. Margelov said that the council’s representatives were not harboring extremist ideas but favored the stable development and territorial integrity of Libya. He said he was not immediately planning to visit Tripoli and would report the results of his trip to President Dmitry Medvedev.
Mr. Margelov said he had informed the opposition leadership about efforts being taken by Russia to promote reconciliation in Libya:
"We have not severed our relations with Tripoli and we have established relations with Benghazi. We are ready to act as mediators in promoting an internal political dialogue in Libya. Russia wants to see Libya as an independent, single, sovereign and democratic state, an integral part of the Arab world and an inalienable part of the African Union, a worthy member of the international community. At present, the Libyan elite and Libyan society are split. They seem to be on the opposite banks – some are looking to Benghazi and the others to Tripoli. Russia is seeking to build a bridge between these two banks that separate Libyan society."
Mikhail Margelov said that his Benghazi interlocutors had spoken highly of Russia’s position in the United Nations. The fact that Russia abstained from voting on UN Security Council Resolution 1973 clearly shows that it respects the right of the Libyan people to protect their country’s independence.