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Russia can be new platform for resolving crisis in Libya — expert

August 16, 15:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

During his visit to Moscow, the Libyan National Army commander held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu

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MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. Moscow could become a new platform for resolving the conflict in Libya, Vladimir Fitin, Head of the Middle East Center at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), said on Wednesday.

"Russia favors a political settlement of the conflict and maintains relations with both [Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa] Haftar and the National Accord Government led by [Fayez] al-Sarraj and, according to available information, is even ready to arrange a meeting between these opposing parties in Russia to achieve a peaceful settlement in the country," he said commenting on the situation in Libya and Haftar’s visit to Moscow.

According to Fitin, Moscow’s influence in the Middle East has grown substantially. He stressed that the successful Russian operation in Syria "has led to radical changes in the situation in that country rather than just statements, like in many other cases with other countries."

The expert noted that during the conflict in Libya "anyone who took the trouble tried to flex their peacekeeping muscles." "The so-called Skhirat agreement, which did not lead to the end of hostilities, was signed," he recalled. "Italy, which primarily protects its interests and the Eni oil corporation working in southern Libya, was actively involved in them, along with France. However, [President Emmanuel] Macron’s latest meetings in July were not very successful either."

"EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, too, tried to hold negotiations, but their objective was ensuring the cordon for migrants rather than establishing peace in Libya," Fitin pointed out. "Having tried all these so-called mediators, Haftar turned to Russia."

During his visit to Moscow, the Libyan National Army commander held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. The two sides discussed the Libyan crisis, the fight against terrorism and illegal migration.

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