Gaddafi told endgame is near: Medvedev’s envoy to Africa

June 14th, 2011 - 2:23 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, June 14 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian head of world chess Kirsan Ilyumzhinov visited Tripoli over the weekend with instructions to make it clear to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that the endgame was near, said Russian president’s special envoy to Africa Monday.

Ilyumzhinov, the president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), was in Tripoli Sunday. He was shown on television playing chess with the embattled Libyan leader.

Mikhail Margelov, who is leading Moscow’s mediation efforts in the Libyan conflict as President Dmitry Medvedev’s special envoy, said Monday he would visit Tripoli next week for talks with top government officials.

“On the eve of his trip Friday, Ilyumzhinov telephoned me and informed me that he was going to travel to Tripoli, and was expected to meet with Gaddafi to discuss chess questions,” Margelov said.

“I advised him (Ilyumzhinov) to play white and move E-2 to E-4, and make it clear to Gaddafi that his side is close to the endgame,” he added.

Ilyumzhinov, who was president of the Russian republic of Kalmykia from 1993 until 2010, arrived in Libya Saturday for an official visit to promote chess playing in the North African nation.

During their meeting Sunday, Gaddafi reportedly told Ilyumzhinov he had no intention of stepping down.

“Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said he was not going anywhere, regardless of the pressure,” a chess federation spokesman said after the meeting.

Ilyumzhinov also met with the Libyan leader’s son Muhammad al-Gaddafi during the visit.

Margelov, who is also chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian parliament’s upper house, held talks with leaders of Libya’s opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) in their stronghold of Benghazi last week.

He said both Russia and the TNC wanted a political solution to the crisis and criticised the NATO-led military campaign for overstepping its UN mandate to protect Libyan civilians.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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