MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt have been coordination their efforts to restore the Libyan statehood through a national dialogue, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper published on Saturday.
“Moscow and Cairo are closely coordinating their steps in the Libyan direction,” he said. “Our task is to help the Libyans to overcome the existing differences, to achieve sustainable agreements regarding the parameters of national reconciliation.”
“We share a common approach to ways of restoring Libya’s statehood via an inclusive national dialogue with the participation of prominent representatives from military and political circles, civil society, religious groups,” Russia’s top diplomat added.
Lavrov, who is visiting Egypt on Saturday, said that close foreign policy coordination between Moscow and Cairo “plays an important stabilizing role in the entire Middle Eastern region.”
“We plan to hold a profound exchange of opinions on the situation in Syria, Libya, Yemen and the Palestinian territories, including the efforts to reunite Palestinian groups, in which Egypt plays a special role,” he added. “We will also discuss ways to defuse the potential for conflict in the region, including prospects for making Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.”
Issues of countering terrorist and extremist activities will also be an important issue raised at the talks. Besides, the parties will discuss preparations for the first Russia-Africa summit in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi, scheduled for October.
Situation in Libya escalated during the visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Currently, the country has two governments: Tripoli’s Government of National Accord, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and recognized by the international community, and the interim Cabinet of Abdullah Al-Thani, who is acting in the country’s east together with the elected parliament and supported by the Libyan National Army of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
On Thursday, Haftar announced the launch of an offensive on Tripoli to retake the capital from terrorists and armed groups. The army is advancing to the capital now and, as some media reported, has already approached the city’s outskirts. Meanwhile, al-Sarraj ordered all military units subordinate to him to be on alert and to use force if necessary “to defend the civilian population and critical facilities.”
In the meantime, Al-Hadath television channel said that at a meeting with Antonio Guterres in Benghazi on Friday, Haftar notified the UN Secretary General that he would not negotiate with terrorists but would liberate Libya’s capital from them. According to the sources cited by the TV channel, Guterres asked Haftar to abide by generally recognized rules for military operations and by the international laws.
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