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Russia agrees at G8 summit to mediate in Libya

Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Russia is ready to mediate in the Libyan crisis following a request from US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the G8 summit in Deauville, northern France, on Friday.

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"If the respectful tone that Russia maintains in its dialogue with the Libyan authorities would help Mr [Moamer] Kadhafi take the right decision, I think this will become our

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

serious and significant contribution to the resolution of the grave and potentially even more dangerous situation for Libya and the region," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in Deauville.

Ryabkov declared that Kadhafi “has deprived himself of legitimacy” and “we should help him leave”.

Who are the G8?

The Group of Eight G8 was born from the G6 and launched by France in 1976. Its members are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Russia.
 

A aide to President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters later that Russia had partners in the Libyan leader's entourage with whom it could negotiate his departure.

Dossier: Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

A draft statement for the summit accused Kadhafi of “grave abuses against the Libyan people” and concluded, “He must go.”

Earlier Obama declared that the US and France were “joined together to finish the job” in Libya at a joint press conference with Sarkozy.

The draft also threatened to take action at the UN against Syria for “using force and intimidation against the Syrian people” and called for “the release of all political prisoners” there.

But Ryabkov insisted that the situation in the country, which is a Russian ally, is “radically different” to that in Libya.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Sarkozy on Friday proposed a package worth 28 billion euros for Egypt, Tunisia and three sub-Saharan African countries.

Following this year’s revolutions in their countries, Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Charaf and Tunisia’s Beji Caid Essebsi were invited as guests of honour to the G8 summit.

The money is supposed to encourage democratic change in the Arab world and Africa. The leaders of Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger, where elections judged exemplary by France have taken place, have also been invited to Deauville.

Also at the G8:

  • The draft statement calls on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to respect his promise of democratic change;
  • It also gives “strong support” for Obama’s call for a Middle East peace agreement based on pre-1967 borders;
  • Sarkozy hailed Obama’s Middle East speech as “courageous” ahead of an announcement that Foreign Minister Alain Juppé will visit the region on 1-3 June;
  • Tunisian PM Beji Caid Essebsi said that his country’s election, set for 24 July, may be delayed;
  • The US, Russia, Japan and Canada will block an agreement at December’s climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, if it sets targets for country’s greenhouse gas reductions, diplomats said.
     

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