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Libya: Presidential Council calls on Russia to play a ‘positive and constructive role’

May 14, 2024 at 2:31 pm

Deputy Chairman of the Libya’s Presidency Council, Abdullah Hussein Al-Lafi holds a press conference on the Libyan presidential and parliamentary elections which are planned to be held on December 24, in Tripoli, Libya on November 1, 2021 [Hazem Turkia – Anadolu Agency]

Libya’s Presidential Council called on Russia yesterday to play a “positive and constructive role” to support stability in the North African country. The call was made by the Deputy Chairman of the council, Abdulla Al-Lafi, during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

“Bilateral relations between the two countries are important,” stressed Al-Lafi, “as is the partnership in a number of bilateral fields, and the return of Russian companies to Libya.” He noted the importance of a positive and constructive Russian role in favour of stability in Libya, and the importance of supporting the work of the Joint Military Committee and examining ways to resume its work.

The military committee includes five members from the military establishment in western Libya and five from the eastern forces led by Khalifa Haftar, who have been engaged in dialogue for over three years to unify the military establishment. Tunisia hosted the last meeting of this committee in November 2023.

Al-Lafi and Lavrov also discussed Russia’s role in the region, and how to cooperate and deliberate to find effective solutions in the region through true partnership, said the Libyan official. “The political impasse in Libya needs to end in order to pave the way for free and open elections as soon as possible.”

The role of the UN Support Mission in Libya, especially after the resignation of the Special Envoy, was on the agenda too. The two officials discussed the immediate appointment of a new envoy and supporting the mission in managing the political and security process in Libya.

Libya is going through a phase of political stagnation. Special Envoy Abdoulaye Bathily submitted his resignation on 16 April, after the failure of an initiative he submitted to bring political parties to the table to resolve outstanding issues hindering elections. In his briefing to the UN Security Council hours before submitting his resignation, Bathily said, “There is an intentional refusal by the Libyan parties to hold the elections seriously, with a stubborn desire to postpone the elections indefinitely.”

The Libyans hope that elections are held to end conflicts and divisions that have existed since the beginning of 2022 given the existence of two governments, one headed by Osama Hammad and appointed by the House of Representatives in Benghazi, in the east of Libya, and the other based in the capital, Tripoli, which is the Government of National Unity headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.

Lavrov was quoted as confirming his country’s readiness to continue to stand by the Libyans in everything that serves the interests of the two peoples and the two friendly countries. He revealed Moscow’s efforts to open a consulate in Benghazi and work to strengthen bilateral relations.

Al-Lafi began a working visit to Russia on Monday, accompanied by the Foreign Minister in the Government of National Unity, Al-Taher Al-Baour, and the Chief of Staff of the Libyan Army, Lieutenant General Mohammed Al-Haddad.

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