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21:28 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Russia recognizes Libyan rebels as legitimate negotiators

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Russia recognizes Libya's Transitional National Council as a legitimate negotiator on Libya's future, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Russia recognizes Libya's Transitional National Council as a legitimate negotiator on Libya's future, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Lavrov met with Abdel Rahman Shalgam, a representative of the Libyan opposition, on Monday. The opposition has been seeking to oust Libya's long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi since mid-February.

"The Transitional National Council does not seek to be recognized as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people, but wants to be seen as a legitimate partner in negotiations on Libya's future," Sergei Lavrov said.

A total of 14 of the 28 NATO countries are taking part in the operation Unified Protector in Libya, which includes airstrikes, a no-fly zone and naval enforcement of an arms embargo in response to attacks on civilians.

Russia abstained in the UN Security Council vote on the resolution.

Western media reports claim the U.S. has suggested the Libyan rebels open a representative office in Washington.

MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti)