China Says Libyan Rebels Will Visit Beijing

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Chinese officials say they will soon receive a delegation from the Libyan opposition movement in Beijing.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry official Chen Xiaodong announcing the visit at a briefing Thursday. He spoke as an envoy from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was ending a two-day visit in which he urged China to help secure a cease-fire between his government and the rebels.

Chen said Beijing is “ready to receive” the Libyan rebels “in the near future” but did not specify a date. The announcement follows recent contacts between Chinese diplomats and rebel leaders in Qatar and at their base in the Libyan city Benghazi.

The contacts have prompted speculation that China, which secures much of its oil from the region, may be seeking a larger role as a Libyan peace-maker.

Xinhua quoted Chen saying China has stepped up efforts to persuade the two side in the conflict to seek an amicable settlement through dialogue. He also said China is considering additional humanitarian aid for Libya.

On Wednesday, Libyan envoy Abdelati Obeidi said the Gadhafi government is ready to agree to a total cease-fire and that he hoped China “will play a role in this.”

He made the remark at a meeting in Beijing with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Yang was quoted as saying it is the top priority for all parties to the conflict to secure a cease-fire so that further humanitarian disasters can be avoided.

Yang also re-asserted China's opposition to actions that exceed a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing military action to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Libya. China has complained before that NATO air strikes on government positions in Libya go beyond the mandate.

Yang said the conflict in Libya should be resolved “through dialogue, discussion and political means.”