Foreign and Military Affairs

China ready to receive Libya opposition envoys

Updated: 2011-06-09 20:58
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BEIJING - China on Thursday said it would welcome a visit by envoys of the Libyan opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) in the near future.

"We are ready to receive a visit from NTC representatives in the near future," Chen Xiaodong, director general of the West Asian and North African Affairs Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said during a press briefing.

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Chen, however, did not specify when the visit would occur.

China has recently stepped up efforts to persuade the two sides of the conflict in Libya to seek a political solution through dialogue, Chen said.

China's first reported contact with Libya's opposition leader took place on June 2 when Chinese ambassador to Qatar Zhang Zhiliang met with Libya's NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil in Doha.

On Monday, Li Lianhe, a Chinese diplomat in Egypt, went to east Libya's Benghazi, the opposition's headquarters, where he met with Jalil and inspected the humanitarian situation and property of Chinese businesses left there.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi received a visit from Libyan counterpart Abdul Ati Al-Obidi, also special envoy of the Libyan government, on Wednesday.

"As China is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya, we believe the current situation is untenable and it's time to come up with a solution," Chen said.

China called on the two sides to quickly implement a cease fire to stop the humanitarian disaster getting worse and pave way for a political settlement, Chen said.

"Military means do not solve the problems, but only complicate them," Chen said, citing the fact that months-long fighting in Libya had resulted in heavy casualties and the prolonged fighting would cause further suffering to people of Libya.

China urged both sides of Libya to take into account the fundamental interests of the country and the people and give serious attention to the international community's mediation proposal, Chen said.

He called on both sides to take a more flexible and pragmatic attitude to quickly start substantive engagement and resolve the crisis through dialogue and negotiations.

"China would like to stay in touch with Libyan related parties, including the NTC, support African countries' proposal for resolving the Libya issue and expect both sides of Libya to consider and respond to the proposal," Chen said.

China maintained that Libya's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity should be respected and the will of the Libyan people to be respected, Chen said.

"We oppose any actions which go beyond the authorization of the resolution approved by the United Nations Security Council," Chen said.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is committed to safeguarding and promoting world peace and is tasked to play an active part in seeking a political solution to the Libya crisis, Chen said.

"China will work with the international community to promote the peaceful and proper settlement of the crisis at an early time," Chen said.

In a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei reaffirmed China's support on the proposal by African Union (AU) mediators.

The AU came up with a road map in April, calling for an immediate cease-fire, cooperation in opening channels for humanitarian aid and starting a dialogue between the rebels and the government.