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Russia: ‘US steps to stop clashes in Libya will be welcomed’

June 18, 2020 at 9:24 am

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) meets with Khalifa Haftar eastern Libya-based military commander at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Reception House in Moscow, Russia on 13 January 2020 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Russia would welcome any US support for efforts to convince the warring parties in Libya to stop the fighting and launch a political process for peace.

Lavrov made his comment in a press conference on Wednesday while discussing the recent invitation from his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, for Washington to operationalise its role in a political settlement for Libya.

“If the United States succeeds in exerting influence on the parties to the Libyan conflict to support the efforts of Russia and other external forces who call for an immediate ceasefire, then I think this will be very positive,” said Lavrov. “We will see.”

He emphasised that any constructive step to contain the crises in Libya, Syria or anywhere else is welcome. At the same time he acknowledged that he does not know what steps the US can actually take to push forward a political solution in Libya.

READ: Egypt keen to build ties with Libya government 

The Russian Foreign Minister pointed out that the US had participated in the Berlin International Conference on Libya and signed the UN Security Council resolution that endorsed the outcomes of that conference. He also noted that Washington has confirmed its recognition of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which is one of the parties to the conflict.

Libya has recently witnessed an intense escalation of fighting and military developments in the field. Turkish-backed GNA forces have made tangible progress at the expense of the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar.

Russia, the US and other countries have expressed their support for the recent Egyptian initiative to stop the fighting and withdraw all foreign forces from Libya. Turkey and the GNA have, however, rejected it. Egypt has been supporting Haftar’s forces since 2015.