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CAIRO, October 12. /TASS/. Russia maintains contacts both with Libya’s legitimate parliament and with the opposition and calls on the parties for a dialogue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and president’s Middle East envoy Mikhail Bogdanov told journalists on Sunday.
The Libyan parliament was elected in a nationwide democratic vote and is seen by the world community as legitimate, he noted. “It formed a government, which is also seen as legitimate. Parallel power bodies do exist too but they are not legitimate from the international point of view, but these are the realities,” he said.
That is why, according to Bogdanov, Russia has contacts with both the legitimate leadership and with representatives of various opposition groups. “We understand that all of them are Libyan citizens and all have the right to live a normal life in their own country, respecting the constitution and enjoying equal rights - both the ruling circles and the opposition,” he said.
He admitted that different “countries and people have different views on the situation.” “But we are saying that it is inadmissible to analyze, give assessments and build the entire policy only on somebody’s personal sympathies and antipathies - there should be clear principles,” Bogdanov stressed. “For instance, some of our partners say that /Syrian President/ Bashar Assad has lost legitimacy and we don’t want to know him. We say: this is our opinion but he controls half of the country or, maybe, even more, and this fact is to be reckoned with, we must reckon with the real state of things but not with our moods.”
“When such conflict situations arise, our principle is, like in Syria, not to support either of the parties, even the legitimate authorities against the opposition, let alone, the opposition against the legitimate authorities,” he noted. “We support all Libyans, all Syrians, meaning that they must sit down at the negotiating table and begin a comprehensive nationwide dialogue to defend their ideas within the legal constitutional framework, using only peaceful, political and diplomatic means.”
Touching on the situation in Syria, in particular, efforts against the extremist group Islamic State, the Russian diplomat reminded that Russia had repeatedly warned about the growing threat of terrorism expansion. “There is nothing new in what is happening now,” he said. “We have repeatedly said that it could have been forecasted and we expected it in one form or another.”
If all the sides want anti-terrorism efforts to be maximally efficient, all related problems, in his words, should be discussed in a collective format on the basis generally recognized principles. “And these principles are vitally important not to be later misinterpreted,” he said. “If we act on impulse, not understanding what we are doing and what consequences our actions might entail, the results of such anti-terrorist activities might be not mere inefficient but generally counterproductive.”
“How is it possible to fight against terrorism in a country, where its authorities want to fight but we /the West and its allies/ do not recognize their sovereignty? That is why a clear understanding is needed of what a sovereign state is and it must be respected and it is necessary to cooperate with the governments of these countries,” Bogdanov noted, citing as Iraq as an example. “The Iraqi government has supported /the operation/, asked to help. But in Syria? There must not be double standards.