By Gabriel Harrison.
Tunis, 14 August 2017:
Russia has stuck publicly to the international line on Libya insisting that the UN’s job is not to produce solutions to the country’s crisis but to enable the Libyan to find them for themselves.
On this basis, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov today told Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Hafter that Moscow welcomed the general’s Paris meeting last month with Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraj.
Hafter has been on his second visit to Moscow in the past nine months.
Lavrov told him: “Unfortunately, the situation in Libya remains difficult, the threat of extremism has not been overcome in your homeland”.
He continued: “However, we know about the actions which are being undertaken and actively support the tendency of intensification of political resolution processes and the full-scale restoration of the statehood of your country”.
Lavrov said that he expects the new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé to visit Moscow in the near future. “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.
He added that such activities should not be “aimed at the development of solutions, but as a contribution to the most favourable conditions for a dialogue between key figures in Libya, so that they themselves agree on the future of their country”.
Hafter said the LNA is determined to continue the struggle until the army extends its control over all Libyan territory. He criticised the UN arms embargo on Libya, to which Russia adheres, calling it unjust. He added that the terrorists the LNA is fighting have unlimited support.