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Russia interested in resuming full bilateral cooperation with Libya — Lavrov

Speaker of Libya’s Chamber of Representatives Aguila Saleh Issa visited Russia on an invitation from the Russian parliament's lower chamber

MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. Russia is interested in resuming full bilateral cooperation with Libya in all areas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Speaker of Libya’s Chamber of Representatives Aguila Saleh Issa, who arrived in Moscow on an official visit on Tuesday.

"The sooner post-conflict settlement is completed and normal post-conflict life begins, the quicker we will be able to resume bilateral cooperation in all areas: energy, transport infrastructure, as well as economic and investment projects in genereal for the benefit of our peoples," Lavrov said. "We are interested in resuming other forms of contact as well, such as parliamentary exchanges."

Russia’s top diplomat said Saleh travelled to Russia on an invitation from the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament.

"I know that you are going to meet the State Duma’s leadership. I expect your visit to be useful in all aspects. We will do our best for that end," he added.

Lavrov noted that the process to re-lauch the political process in Libya continues and gains momentum, and welcomed Saleh’s effort in that regard.

"The ceasefire has been observed for quite a lengthy period of time. Your meeting with Fayez al-Sarraj this August played an important role in restarting the political process. Despite certain difficulties, the process continues, and gains momentum," the Russian foreign minister added.

"We particularly welcome your determination to include all key political forces and all regions of your homeland into the settlement process. This is our approach as well. For many years, we have been maintaining active contacts will all representatives of Libyan political forces, and will help you to implement your initiatives," Lavrov added.

Libya has had two parallel executive power structures for a long while now, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj and the interim government operating in the country’s east together with the parliament and supported by the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Commander Khalifa Haftar. In spring 2019, Haftar attacked the capital, while the Tripoli Cabinet of Ministers officially asked Turkey for help and, thanks to Ankara’s active assistance, the GNA managed to regain control over several territories previously occupied by the LNA.

In early September, the representatives of the opposing camps for the first time in a long while began direct negotiations in Morocco’s Buznik, discussing the distribution of sovereign posts. After that, meetings were held in Cairo, Swiss Montreux on political and economic aspects, and in Hurghada, where the military and security representatives of the sides met.

On October 23, in Geneva, participants of Libya’s 5+5 Joint Military Commission (5 representatives from the GNA and the LNA formations each) signed an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, later sealing the deal during the meetings held already in Libyan territory. As a result, a relative calm along the lines of engagement and the agreements between the military paved the way for the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum under the auspices of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) held in Gammarth in the suburbs of Tunisia’s capital from November 9 to November 15.