Russia warns Haftar against resuming Libya hostilities

Russia warns Haftar against resuming Libya hostilities
Russia's foreign minister also pledged to aid Libya's Tripoli-based government.
2 min read
31 December, 2020
Sergey Lavrov cautioned Khalifa Haftar against calls to war with Libya's government [Getty/ Archive]

Russia has pledged support to Libya's UN-recognised government and warned rogue general Khalifa Haftar against resuming hostilities.

Haftar, who leads a military force based in Libya's east, has largely enjoyed support from Moscow in his campaign to seize power in the North African country.

During a news conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke of meeting with Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala.

Lavrov promised to provide "maximum support" to peace efforts in Libya, adding that the ceasefire in the country was due to efforts by Russia and Turkey.

He also spoke of the Berlin peace conference in Libya, which he said was led by his country and led to recommendations which were approved by the UN Security Council.

Russia echoed sentiments pushed by the United Nations, who urge the Libyan factions to maintain the fragile ceasefire into the new year.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has proposed international monitors to support Libya's ceasefire amid hopes that foreign fighters will soon leave and the country can turn the page on a decade of war.

In a letter to Security Council members seen by AFP, the secretary-general asked to set up a monitoring group that would include civilians and retired soldiers from regional groups such as the African Union, European Union and Arab League.

The warring sides, who reached a ceasefire on October 23 in Geneva, both want to avoid armed and uniformed foreign troops, Guterres said.

"I call on all national, regional and international stakeholders to respect the provisions of the ceasefire agreement and ensure its implementation without delay," Guterres said in the letter dated Tuesday.

"I encourage member states and regional organizations to support the operationalization of the ceasefire mechanism, including by providing individual monitors under the auspices of the United Nations."

He called in particular for all nations to respect the UN arms embargo on Libya, which has been flagrantly violated.

Under the ceasefire, all foreign forces are to leave within three months. Khalifa Haftar, a warlord in eastern Libya, has enjoyed backing from Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Haftar reached the truce after being driven back in an offensive by the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, which enjoys strong support from Turkey.

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