China welcomes Libyan opposition leader

AP News
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Posted: Jun 21, 2011 6:30 AM
China welcomes Libyan opposition leader

Engaging Libya's powerful opposition will be important in resolving the crisis in the North African country, China said Tuesday, underscoring Beijing's growing role as mediator and delivering another setback to dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks as Libyan rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril began a two-day visit to Beijing.

Jibril chairs the executive board of the Transitional National Council, the umbrella organization of rebel groups trying to unseat Gadhafi.

China stayed on the sidelines for months after the revolt against Gadhafi's government erupted in mid-February, but has recently stepped up efforts to promote a settlement.

Hong said the council had "already become an important political power in Libya," and that China was poised to engage with it and "other relevant parties" to help find a political solution to the crisis.

Hong said China had no agenda in the dispute, and was supporting the efforts of others, such as the African Union, in resolving it.