Libya asks Russia to help in evacuation of foreign mercenaries
Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala made the announcement during a joint press conference with his Russian host and counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
“We asked for Moscow’s assistance to evacuate foreign fighters from Libya. We expressed our concern over seizing oil export revenues in a bank account that Libyans cannot benefit from,” the Libyan official said.
Libya, according to a UN report, has been awash with foreign fighters, siding with either of the warring sides, namely the GNA and its rival in the east of the country headed by Khalifa Haftar.
Russia, a backer of Haftar, is the target of international criticism which blames Moscow of sending mercenaries to the oil-rich North African country through Russian private security contractor, Wagner.
There are in Libya around 1,200 Wagner fighters propping up Haftar and reportedly financed by the UAE.
Lavrov during the press conference disavowed Haftar arguing that Russia is opposed to the resumption of the hostilities amid ongoing UN peace efforts.
Haftar recently made a call for the resumption of war after his one-year long military campaign to unseat the GNA, failed.
The Russian top diplomat vowed Moscow’s “maximum support” to ongoing peace efforts in Libya.
France and Egypt, two other Haftar’s backers, have also distanced themselves from their protégé as they thaw ties with the GNA and call for the organization of Dec 2021 elections as agreed in November by the opposed parties during UN-backed dialogue.