April 23, 2011 / 4:26 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-Russia and Greece talk to Libya about a ceasefire

* Libyan PM talks with Russia foreign minister and Greek PM

* Libyan agency: Lavrov offers ceasefire observers

(Adds Greek government source, no comment from Moscow)

RABAT, April 23 (Reuters) - Russia and Greece held talks with the Libyan government about the enforcement of a ceasefire, the official JANA news agency said, after government troops appeared to withdraw from front lines in rebel-held Misrata.

JANA said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi on Saturday Moscow could send observers to monitor a ceasefire and pave the way for a peaceful solution.

The official JANA news agency said Lavrov made the proposal during phone talks with Mahmoudi.

“Russia stands by the Libyan people,” JANA quoted him as saying.

Lavrov and Mahmoudi “emphasised during the exchange the implementation of a ceasefire announced by Libya”, it said.

“Russia’s position focuses on a peaceful solution and its readiness to send observers to monitor a ceasefire. He (Lavrov) emphasised that Russia has notified the United Nations about this.”

There was no immediate comment on the report from Moscow. Russia has criticised the Western campaign of air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces as exceeding the mandate of a U.N. resolution which authorises the use of force to protect civilians.

JANA said Mahmoudi also talked with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou and “reiterated Libya’s commitment to United Nations resolutions” and said Libya is committed to the African Union’s peace initiative.

A Greek government source confirmed the contact. “The exchange indeed took place, on the initiative of the Libyan side,” the source said.

“The Greek prime minister reiterated to his Libyan counterpart that Libya must comply with UN resolutions.”

The Libyan government has repeatedly made calls for ceasefires, rejected by rebels who say they are not matched by its actions.

The Kremlin on Friday said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Papandreou were working to help resolve the Libyan conflict and were ready “to provide any necessary mediation help in order to settle the situation in Libya”, Russia’s Interfax agency reported. (Reporting by Souhail Karam and Barbara Lewis; editing by Andrew Roche)

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