Russia says ready to mediate in Libya crisis

DEAUVILLE, France Fri May 27, 2011 6:38am EDT

DEAUVILLE, France May 27 (Reuters) - Russia is ready to mediate in the Libyan crisis following a request from its partners in the Group of Eight, a senior Russian official told reporters at the G8 summit in northern France on Friday.

"If the respectful tone that Russia maintains in its dialogue with the Libyan authorities would help Mr Gaddafi take the right decision, I think this will become our serious and significant contribution to the resolution of the grave and potentially even more dangerous situation for Libya and the region," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

He also said Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had lost all legitimacy and should step down: "Colonel Gaddafi has deprived himself of legitimacy with his actions, we should help him leave. There are no disagreements about that with G8 partners, although the tone may differ."

A aide to President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters later that Russia had partners in the Libyan leader's entourage with whom it could negotiate his departure.

Other G8 officials have said they are unsure what role Moscow might play in Libya. European diplomats said there were signs that Russian officials were apparently in contact with Libyans, but it was unclear to Western governments what that involved. (For TAKE A LOOK on the Deauville G8, click on: [ID:nLDE74P0DD] (For all stories from Deauville G8, click on: [G8-LEN-RTRS] (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; writing by Jon Boyle; editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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