Moscow backs peace efforts by Libya rivals

2017-08-15 12:20
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Moscow - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday backed the efforts of Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar and his rival UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to reach a peace agreement in the conflict-ridden country.

"We actively support the emerging trend to step up the process of political resolution, towards a full restoration of statehood in your country," Lavrov told Haftar in remarks released by the foreign ministry after the two men met in Moscow.

"We know about your efforts, together with Sarraj, aimed at achieving a generally accepted agreement on optimal ways to execute the Skhirat political agreement that would be acceptable for everyone," Lavrov said.

The UN-backed Skhirat Agreement was reached in 2015 as the basis for a political process in Libya, but it had been rejected by Haftar and other factions.

"We support your intent on achieving some progress," Lavrov said.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also met Haftar in Moscow and talks "devoted particular attention to the development of the situation in north Africa, with the stress on the situation in Libya," Interfax news agency reported, citing a defence ministry statement.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

Sarraj, who was appointed last year to lead the new government of national accord, has been unable to assert his authority outside Tripoli. Haftar's rival administration is based in Libya's east.

The two rivals agreed a ceasefire at talks in France last month and committed to holding elections, a plan which was endorsed by the UN Security Council.

On Monday, Lavrov emphasised the UN's role in the peace process, adding that the new UN special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, who started work this month, was also due in Moscow.

"Unfortunately, the situation in your country continues to be complicated. The threat of extremism has not been overcome, though we know about the actions being taken to eradicate it," Lavrov said.

Read more on:    un  |  russia  |  libya  |  north africa

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