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China receives Libyan opposition leader, recognizes NTC as "important dialogue partner"

BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday recognized Libya's opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) as "an important dialogue partner" as it hosted the NTC leader in Beijing.

"Since its creation, the NTC has increased its representativeness and gradually become a major political force, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in a meeting with the Chairman of the Executive Board of Libyan NTC Mahmoud Jibril on Wednesday.

Jibril arrived in China Tuesday for a two-day visit. It is the first time that the Libyan opposition leader has visited China. Libya has been in a state of turmoil since February.

"China is not seeking any private interest concerning Libya, and believes the Libyan situation is essentially an internal issue," Yang said, stressing that the future of Libya should be decided by the Libyan people.

Yang said China is concerned that the Libyan people are suffering through the chaos of war as the crisis continues.

Yang called on both sides to give priority to interests of the country and the people and take into account the international community's mediation proposal, cease hostilities and resolve the crisis through political means.

Yang urged the two sides to "truly give peace a chance," saying "this will work for the fundamental interest of the Libyan people."

Jibril said the NTC appreciates China's fair position and active role in resolving the crisis and pledged to take necessary measures to protect the safety of Chinese people and the property of Chinese businesses that remain in areas controlled by the NTC.

China has recently stepped up efforts to persuade the two sides to seek a political solution through dialogue.

China's ambassador to Qatar Zhang Zhiliang met with NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil in Doha on June 2.

Subsequently, 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.

Yang met with his Libyan counterpart Abdul Ati Al-Obidi in Beijing earlier in June.

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