China Acknowledges Libyan Rebels as Political Force, Dialogue Partner

Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 5:11 am (UTC-5)
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China is acknowledging the Libyan rebel movement as an “important dialogue partner” that has become a vital political force in the north African country.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the comment about Libya's National Transition Council after a meeting in Beijing Wednesday with rebel envoy Mahmoud Jibril.

In a posting on the ministry website, Yang is quoted as saying the council's influence has steadily increased and it is now a major political force in Libya.

China said earlier it hopes to engage with both sides in the Libyan conflict in order to achieve a political solution between the rebels and the government of Moammar Gadhafi.

Chinese diplomats met previously in the Middle East with the leader of the rebel movement, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and hosted Mr. Gadhafi's foreign minister, Abdelati Obeidi, during a visit to Beijing earlier this month.

Analysts quoted this week by China's Communist party-controlled Global Times say Beijing is not likely to take sides in the conflict, but will seek to resolve the conflict by talking to both the government and the rebels. They also say Beijing is anxious to ensure the protection of Chinese interests in Libya.

China is a major purchaser of Libyan oil and has significant investments in its energy sector. Beijing evacuated more than 30,000 of its nationals from the country in the early days of the conflict.