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Gaddafi must step down - Medvedev

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Muammar Gaddafi's regime has lost its legitimacy and the Libyan leader must leave his post, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said after the G8 summit in Deauville.

Muammar Gaddafi's regime has lost its legitimacy and the Libyan leader must leave his post, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said after the G8 summit in Deauville.

"If you saw the [summit's final] declaration, it is written there that the regime of Gaddafi has lost its legitimacy and he must leave," Medvedev said at a press conference on the summit's results. "This was decided unanimously."

"It is clear that Gaddafi and his regime continue to commit grave abuses against the Libyan people. Gaddafi has lost all legitimacy. He must go," the G8 statement said.

"We believe that Col. Gaddafi himself destroyed his legitimacy and we should help him go," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in Deauville.

Medvedev added that Russia wants Libya to remain a free and independent state.

Medvedev said he expects Russian senator and special envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov, who heads the foreign relations committee of the Russian parliament's upper house, to meet both with the Libyan opposition and authorities during his visit to the country.

Medvedev said Russia will not grant asylum to Gaddafi adding that the international community no longer considers him as the Libyan leader.

Earlier, NATO denied reports that it had received a letter from Gaddafi's regime seeking a ceasefire.

London-based daily The Independent reported that Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi was sending international leaders messages proposing an immediate UN-monitored ceasefire in Libya. The Spanish government also said it had received such a message.

According to the letter seen by the newspaper, Gaddafi's regime was ready to "enter unconditional talks with rebels, declare an amnesty for both sides and draft a new constitution."

"NATO will keep up the pressure on the regime until these steps are implemented in a credible, verifiable and sustained way," NATO spokesperson Oana Lungesku said.

The revolt, which began in mid-February in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi's forty-year rule, has already claimed thousands of lives, with Gaddafi's troops maintaining their combat capabilities despite NATO airstrikes against them.

DEAUVILLE (France), May 27 (RIA Novosti)

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