Russia says Libyan conflict has no military solution, calls for urgent truce

Russia says the conflict in Libya has no military solution and an immediate ceasefire is required as foreign intervention continues to flame the fighting in the North African country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that he had discussed the Libyan conflict with his Turkish and Egyptian counterparts and that they had agreed with Moscow on the need for an urgent truce in the country.

“For the past few days, I had telephone conversations with the Turkish foreign minister and the Egyptian foreign minister. Both of my colleagues supported this approach. Everyone should recognize that there is not any military solution. We must sit down at the negotiating table and look for universally acceptable agreements,” Lavrov said during an online press conference in the Russian capital.

“I do not see any options other than an immediate ceasefire. An immediate ceasefire, and resolving all other issues based on the negotiation process within the framework of the Berlin conference declaration,” he added, referring to a conference aimed at finding a political solution to the Libyan crisis last January that was attended by world powers and regional actors.

Lavrov also urged all external players to create conditions for an inclusive dialog between the warring factions in Libya.

Libya has been in chaos since 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged, namely the internationally-recognized Libyan government, headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, in Tripoli, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebels under the command of strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar’s rebel forces — who are backed by the UAE, France, Russia, and Egypt — launched an offensive to seize the capital and unseat Sarraj’s government in April 2019, triggering some of the most intense fighting in the country.

‘France, not Turkey, playing dangerous game in Libya’

Meanwhile, Turkey fired back at France on Tuesday, saying Paris itself was “playing a dangerous game in Libya” by supporting Haftar against the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli.

“France has a major responsibility for Libya being dragged into chaos by supporting illegal structures there for years, and therefore, it is actually France which is playing a dangerous game in Libya,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron had a day earlier accused Ankara of playing a “dangerous game” in the North African country that could no longer be tolerated.

Recently, Libyan government forces have managed to gain the upper hand. Turkey has significantly helped the Tripoli government by sending sophisticated drones and air defense systems, as well as dispatching allied militants from Syria.


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