Moscow Supports Haftar’s Efforts to Restore Statehood in Libya

Russia Monday welcomed Khalifa Haftar’s efforts seeking the restauration of a central government in Libya, six years after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told visiting Commander of Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar that Moscow stands on his side to flash out extremism.

“Unfortunately, the situation in Libya remains difficult, the threat of extremism has not been overcome,” Lavrov told his interlocutor, adding that Russia actively supports “the tendency of intensification of political resolution processes, the full-scale restoration of the statehood of your country”.

Lavrov hailed the efforts being made with the participation of both Haftar and head of the UN-backed Presidency Council Faiez Sarraj, which are aimed, he said, at ensuring generally acceptable agreements on optimal ways of implementing the Skhirat agreement.

The Russian official mentioned in this vein the agreement reached by the two men at a meeting held near Paris last month under the French President’s auspices.

The Russian top diplomat however made it clear that Moscow remains faithful to the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirate in December 2015 under the aegis of the UN.

“We believe that it is very important to focus all mediation efforts and ideas on the political front on the basis of the activities of the United Nations,” he said.

However, although Moscow aligns itself with the UN mediation, he insisted that only Libyans can decide the way forward and that the UN must not impose choices on the Libyan factions. Russia wants “all major political forces, tribes and regions” to undertake the path of dialogue, he said.

Haftar, who also held talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, condemned the UN arm embargo on Libya as affecting the military operations against terrorists and claimed that the terrorists his army is fighting have “unlimited financial and military support”.

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