23:40 GMT +321 January 2020
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    No asylum for Gaddafi in Russia

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    Russia will not host Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should he choose to step down, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

    Russia will not host Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should he choose to step down, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

    "This last question has been answered on more than one occasion -the answer is negative," Lavrov said when asked by reporters whether Gaddafi could come to Russia.

    Moscow recognizes the Transitional National Council of Libya (TNC) as a negotiating partner, but not as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people, Lavrov said.

    His comments follow Friday's declaration by the Libya Contact Group that Gaddafi's regime had lost its legitimacy and recognition of the TNC as "the legitimate governing authority in Libya" until the establishment of an interim authority.

    The group, comprised of about 40 states, as well as representative of the United Nations, the Arab League and the African Union, said "the Gaddafi regime no longer has any legitimate authority in Libya," and that Gaddafi and his family members must go.

    Libya has been rocked by fighting between pro- and anti-government forces since mid-February. An international military operation began on March 19 following a UN resolution and has been extended until September.

    UN Security Council Resolution 1970, passed in February, prohibited states from providing any kind of arms to Libya. Resolution 1973, passed a month later, authorized countries "to take all necessary measures" to help protect Libyan civilians.

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