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Russia not to attend Libya contact group meeting in Istanbul

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Russia will not attend the fourth meeting of the Libya Contact Group scheduled for July 15 in Istanbul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Russia will not attend the fourth meeting of the Libya Contact Group scheduled for July 15 in Istanbul, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

"The Russian approach to the issue remains unchanged: we are not joining the group and are not participating in its activity. This relates to the planned meeting in Istanbul," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Turkey's Anatolian news agency.

Lukashevich said the main efforts used by the contact group "are directed toward the support of [only] one of the sides in the continuing civil conflict in Libya," adding that the UN Security Council has already made well-known decisions on Libya and "it should continue to fully play its central role in settling the Libyan crisis."

The contact group comprises some 40 countries, as well as UN, Arab League and African Union representatives. The group that meets to discuss international mediation efforts in Libya has already held meetings in Doha, Rome and Abu Dhabi.

Libya has been rocked by fighting between Muammar Gaddafi supporters and opponents since mid-February.

An international military operation in Libya began on March 19, following a UN resolution authorizing countries "to take all necessary measures" to help protect Libyan civilians from attacks by Gaddafi forces, and was extended until late September.

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