Former French PM Villepin in Libya talks

Villepin, a rival to President Nicolas Sarkozy who has floated plans for a presidential run in 2012, is the second French figure outside government to seek a solution to the Libyan conflict, after celebrity philosopher Bernard Henri Levi.

The former member of Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party was in the island of Djerba, off Tunisia, for talks with parties from both sides on Monday, Le Parisien daily reported.

“I was indeed there, but I cannot make any further comment because it would compromise the chances of success and the efficacy of these talks,” Villepin told Le Parisien, adding that the talks had been “extremely difficult”.

France’s foreign ministry declined to comment on what it called “private trips by French figures abroad”.

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