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Russian defense chief, commander Haftar talk situation in Libya

The sides confirmed the need to fulfill the decisions made at the Berlin conference on Libya

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Libya, the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters.

"The sides discussed the situation in Libya. They stressed the importance of talks held on January 13 in Moscow for establishing ceasefire and launching the process of normalizing the situation in the country," the ministry said.

Shoigu and Haftar confirmed the need to fulfill the decisions made at the Berlin conference on Libya. The sides noted that there is no alternative to settling the domestic Libyan crisis by political means and confirmed commitment to Libya’s independence, unity and territorial integrity.

There are two parallel executive authorities in Libya right now at loggerheads for power. The internationally recognized Government of National Accord led by Fayez al Sarraj in Tripoli enjoys active support of Turkey and Qatar. In its turn, the eastern-based Interim Cabinet led by Abdullah al-Thani is supported by the Libyan Parliament and the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar. It is actively backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

On January 19, Berlin hosted a conference on Libya at the level of the heads of state and government, including Russia. In their final document, its participants urged a ceasefire and pledged to refrain from meddling in Libya’s affairs. They also suggested creating a unified government and launching reforms for restoring the state system, which was ruined by NATO intervention nine years ago.