April 19, 2011 / 1:06 AM / 9 years ago

Gaddafi envoy holds talks in Morocco

* Morocco hosts visiting Gaddafi envoy

* Libyan crisis needs political solution, Rabat says

By Souhail Karam

RABAT, April 19 (Reuters) - Morocco hosted a visit by a Libyan deputy foreign minister on Monday, a rare diplomatic link between Muammar Gaddafi’s government and one of the staunch allies of the Western coaltion determined to overthrow him.

Morocco has been one of the small number of Arab countries and the only North African state openly involved in talks with Western powers over the Libyan crisis.

State-run 2M television said Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri met Omran Boukraa, the Libyan deputy foreign minister in charge of Arab relations, in Rabat on Monday.

“(Fihri) ... reiterated Morocco’s commitment to full respect for Libya’s territorial integrity and national unity ... It is within that spirit that Morocco took part in international meetings in Paris, London and recently in Doha,” 2M quoted the foreign ministry as saying in a statement.

Foreign ministers of Western powers and Arab states called at a meeting in Doha last week for Gaddafi to leave power. Britain, France and the United States say they will not end their air campaign in Libya until Gaddafi leaves power.

The Moroccan foreign ministry statement said Boukraa had given “detailed accounts of various aspects of the tragic situation that prevails in Libya”.

It added: “Morocco considers that ... the solution can not be military. It can only be political, forward-looking and allowing the Libyan people to democratically determine their future.”

The ministry did not say how Boukraa had reached Rabat. Travel from Libya is restricted by a no-fly zone imposed by the coalition.

Fihri said the Moroccan government and people were concerned about “the painful and delicate situation of the Moroccan community in Libya”. Moroccan authorities have so far brought home only a few thousand of an estimated 100,000 Moroccan expatriates living in Libya.

Editing by Peter Graff

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