MOSCOW 

Russia and Turkey will continue joint efforts on finding a solution to the Libyan crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday.

The two countries are seeking an approach that would allow for immediate cease-fire in Libya, the minister said, speaking at a news conference in Moscow.

“Within the dialogue, sanctioned at the highest level by the presidents of Russia and Turkey, we have been working on finding approaches that would allow us to immediately declare a cease-fire and start resolving all other issues,” the top diplomat said.

He said the first essential step toward a solution is to declare “a complete cessation of hostilities”.

“Our Turkish colleagues are working in this direction with the Government of National Accord, and I hope that they will be able to achieve the only correct solution in the current conditions,” he added, referring to Libya’s legitimate government.

Lavrov called on the warring sides to refrain from betting on a military solution.

– ‘Appointing special envoy’

The appointment of a permanent special envoy would contribute to easing tensions, the minister said, but argued that the US hinders it, vetoing candidates suggested by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

He also stressed that the new UN special envoy for Libya must be a representative of the African Union.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country’s new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority as Tripoli battles Haftar’s militias.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm in March to counter Haftar’s attacks on the capital Tripoli, and recently liberated strategic locations, including Tarhuna, Haftar’s final stronghold in western Libya.

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