Medvedev and Putin
Medvedev and Putin

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that his country refused to recognize the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) as Libya's legitimate government.

According to the Russia's top diplomat, Moscow whilst still ready to deal with the Benghazi-based council as a party for negotiations to determine Libya's future, it will not share the recognition on the Libyan rebels.

"If it comes to recognition of the NTC and other opposition groups as a side in the talks, then unconditionally the NTC is such a side. However, if it refers to recognition of the NTC as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people, as the so-called Contact Group stated in Istanbul, we don't share that position," Lavrov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

The Russian foreign minister stressed that the Contact Group's Istanbul declaration had taken an exclusively one-sided position in the Libyan civil war, hampering further the negotiations' and risking only isolating the capital Tripoli.

"Russia traditionally rejects isolation as a way to resolve any problem in any conflict," Lavrov noted.

He reminded that Moscow has been in contact with both Tripoli and Benghazi, urging them to take constructive position and responsibility for their nation.

In what seems a dig at the U.S decision to recognise the Libyan Transitional Council and followed by its declaration that the Gaddafi regime was now officially illegitimate; Lavrov insisted that the base for the inter-Libyan talks must be the proposals tabled by the African Union and the UN.

Lavrov added that despite rumours, Moscow would not invite or give political asylum to Muammar Gaddafi, Interfax reported.