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Lavrov, Haftar: Mediation Efforts in Libya Should Come through the UN | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Libyan National Army Commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Moscow– Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in Libya with Libyan National Army Commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar currently on official visit to Russia.

Both officials reiterated that all mediation efforts in Libya should be carried out via the UN.

Haftar stated that he is seeking military aid from Russia to Libyan forces fighting terrorists and extremists.

He said the issue of potential Russian military aid to Libya was discussed with Lavrov, adding that Russia is a “good friend” of Libya. He reiterated his intentions to further develop relations with Moscow in various fields, hailing its position concerning the Libyan crisis.

“The outcome of the talks is very positive. We briefed [Lavrov] on our problems, described the picture in whole. Naturally, Russian side considers how it can participate in the search for the required decisions. We’d be delighted, if Russia continues to participate in this work,” Haftar told journalists after the meeting with Lavrov.

He also stated that the Libyan army is doing its best to fight terrorism and has been making sacrifices for the past three years despite unfair sanctions on armament.

Haftar, however, stated that his country is adamant on continuing its battle until the Libyan army is in control of all Libyan territories.

When asked about the political process in Libya, Haftar said following requests from neighboring countries he initiated to meet with Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez Sarraj in Abu Dhabi, UAE, earlier this year. He explained that despite agreeing on several issues with Sarraj, the latter never committed to the deal.

Last month, Haftar and Sarraj agreed on a plan to take Libya out of its crisis during anotehr meeting in France under the patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Russia has expressed its readiness to work toward achieving a successful political solution to the Libyan crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday in the follow-up to the meeting between Lavrov and Haftar.

“Russia’s continued readiness to further contribute to the successful advancement of the political process in Libya in contact with all of Libya’s sides was confirmed,” the statement said.

Russia underscored the importance of continued inclusive intra-Libyan dialogue with the participation of the representatives of all major political powers, tribal groups and regions of the country to reach mutually acceptable decisions, aimed at ensuring the sustainable development of Libya as a united, sovereign and independent state.

Russia supports the intention of Commander Haftar to reach an agreement with Sarraj, Lavrov said.

“We are aware of the efforts being made with your participation, with the participation of Sarraj, which are aimed at ensuring generally acceptable agreements on optimal ways of implementing the Skhirat agreement,” the FM told Haftar.

He added that Moscow expects Special Representative and Head of UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Saleme to visit Russia soon.

Following the meeting with Lavrov, Haftar held talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

The talks focused “on the developments in North Africa and mainly the situation in Libya,” the Russian defense ministry said in a brief statement, noting that both sides emphasized the importance of continued bilateral dialogue.

Russia is trying to communicate with all parties in Libya which would enable it to have a more influential role on the situation in the country.

Earlier in March, Sarraj met with Lavrov who said that Russia wants to see Libya united, prosperous and supported by reliable state institutions and a capable army.

Lavrov believed it is in the interests of the Libyans themselves that regional stability and promoting conditions are bolstered for the resumption of relations between Libya and all its partners, including Russia.

“We are convinced that the current crisis can be overcome only by the Libyan people and all the Libyan parties through an inclusive, as is commonly said, nationwide dialogue aimed at reconciliation,” stated Lavrov.

Sarraj reiterated the strong relations between Russia and Libya, saying he is keen on establishing relations political, economic, security and military fields.

Prior to Haftar’s current visit to Russia, news reports stated that Sarraj might simultaneously arrive in Moscow.

Head of the Russian contact group on the settlement in Libya Lev Dingov said that both Haftar and Sarraj will visit Moscow on Monday. But the news was soon denied by the ministry which said that only the LNA chief would be visiting.