Libya Seeks Chinese Help in Securing Cease-Fire With Rebels

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 1:00 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese state media say an envoy from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has urged China to help secure a cease-fire between his government and rebel forces in the east of the country.

The official Xinhua news agency said Abdelati Obeidi made the remark at a meeting in Beijing Wednesday 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.

Obeidi's visit, which began Tuesday and ends Thursday, follows recent contacts between Chinese diplomats and the anti-Gadhafi rebels based in 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.

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.”

Xinhua quoted Obeidi as saying his government is ready to agree to a total cease-fire and that he hoped China “will play a role in this.”