World, Middle East, Africa

Russia warns against call to war by Libya's Haftar

Sergey Lavrov says sides to Libyan conflict should be encouraged to dialogue, stopped from fighting

Elena Teslova   | 31.12.2020
Russia warns against call to war by Libya's Haftar Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Libyan Foreign Minister Taher Siala meet in Moscow, Russia on December 30, 2020. ( Russian Foreign Ministry - Anadolu Agency )


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned on Wednesday against resumption of hostilities in Libya. 

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow following a meeting with his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Siala, Lavrov promised to provide "maximum support" to ongoing peace efforts in Libya.

Referring to a recent call by Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar to continue a civil war that had been halted in October in a truce with the country's internationally recognized government, Lavrov said the Libyan sides should be encouraged to dialogue and stopped from fighting.

He underlined that the current cease-fire in the North African nation was secured thanks to cooperation between Russia and Turkey, both of which also contributed to organizing the Berlin peace conference on Libya, the recommendations of which were later approved by the UN Security Council.

Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Tripoli-based legitimate government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term settlement failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to Haftar. He launched an onslaught on the capital Tripoli in April 2019 but was pushed back.

A cease-fire was agreed on in late October, and negotiations for an interim setup before presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24, 2021 are continuing.

Lavrov slammed what he called "geopolitical experiments of the West" for being responsible for the possibility of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as for trying to take advantage of the processes of the Arab Spring.

He voiced concern over efforts for a settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli issue, saying "the process of finding a political solution to conflict faces real risks of failure."

"The situation is very serious. Here, as in other cases, a responsible, leading role of the UN is needed in order to restart direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, with the support of the quartet of international mediators and Arab States," the minister said.

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