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Arabs should take lead on Libya - Lavrov

© RIA Novosti . Anton Denisov / Go to the photo bankRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - Sputnik International
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Arab states should take the lead in formulating an international response to the situation in Libya, and Russia will base its policy on their views, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Arab states should take the lead in formulating an international response to the situation in Libya, and Russia will base its policy on their views, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Lavrov was among the G8 foreign ministers who met in Paris on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and particularly in Libya, where several thousand people have been killed in violent clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

"As for Libya, we have considered the situation based on the existing initiatives put forward by Arab states," Lavrov said, adding that international organizations whose proposals were considered were the Arab League, the African Union and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC).

These organizations, he said, have expressed a "strong common position with us," urging an "immediate end to violence" and warning against "foreign and military intervention" in Libya.

The Arab League voted on Saturday to ask the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, to open channels of communication with the opposition National Libya Council based in Benghazi and extend formal recognition to the rebel movement.

Last week, the GCC called Gaddafi's regime illegitimate and urged the establishment of relations with the National Libya Council.

The African Union called last week for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" in Libya, but rejected any kind of foreign military intervention in the country.

Russia will "rely on the wisdom of those countries located in the conflict region," Lavrov said.

"We will rely on those ideas that Arab countries themselves will formulate. We expect these ideas to be elaborated, because it is important for us to understand how the Arab League and other regional countries are going to realize their initiatives," the minister said.

During the two-day meeting in Paris, foreign ministers of G8 countries have agreed to implement further measures against the Libyan leadership, but have not reached an agreement on whether to implement a no-fly zone over the North African state.

While France and Britain have called for a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Gaddafi's warplanes from bombing rebels, other G8 countries, including Russia, have been reluctant to back the proposal.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the alliance was considering various options against Libya, including possible military action, but said any intervention in Libya would be strictly in line with the UN Security Council decisions.

PARIS, March 15 (RIA Novosti) 

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