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Russia to reopen embassy in Libya, Ifax cites foreign minister

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]
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]

Russia has decided to reopen its embassy in Libya although its head will temporarily be based in neighbouring Tunisia, Interfax news agency cited Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Friday, Reuters reports.

Libya has been split since 2014, with the internationally recognised government based in the capital, Tripoli, and the northwest while military leader Khalifa Haftar in the country’s second city Benghazi rules the east.

Russia evacuated its diplomats from Libya in October 2013 after an armed faction attacked its embassy in Tripoli.

READ: US warns Haftar over Wagner group, oil supply in Libya

Lavrov, speaking at a meeting with the speaker of Libya’s pro-Haftar eastern parliament Aguila Saleh, reiterated Russia’s desire for a cessation of hostilities in Libya and the beginning of political dialogue.

“We took a decision to reopen the Russian embassy in Libya, which will at this stage be headed by Charge d’Affaires Jamshed Boltaev,” he said. “He will temporarily be based in Tunisia, but I want to emphasise that his functions include representing Russia across all Libya’s territory.”

Lavrov also said a ceasefire in the Libyan conflict, proposed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi alongside Haftar in Cairo on June 6, could work alongside decisions taken at an international conference in Berlin regarding the situation in the North African country.

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