MOSCOW

Libya’s deputy prime minister said on Thursday he expects a drop in fighting in the country as a result of his visit to Russia.

“In the coming period, in the coming days, we will see a sharp decrease in military escalation thanks to Russian diplomacy, which will work together with us to reduce this escalation,” Ahmed Maiteeq told Russian state-run RIA news agency in an interview.

Maiteeq said he held numerous meetings in Moscow, including with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and representatives of the Defense Ministry and intelligence services.

“The Tripoli government is now convinced that Russia is a very important partner for establishing stability in Libya,” he said.

After Maiteeq and Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala met Lavrov on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement conveyed Moscow’s desire for “early cessation of hostilities and the organization of an inclusive dialogue with the participation of all the leading Libyan political forces and social movements.”

On Thursday, the Libyan Army announced the complete liberation of the capital Tripoli, while its forces move into another city to the southeast, the last stronghold of warlord Khalifa Haftar in western Libya.

The declaration came a day after the Libyan Army managed to retake Tripoli airport from Haftar’s militias.

The Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm in March to counter attacks on the capital, and recently regained strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase, in a major blow to Haftar’s forces.

Libya’s government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar’s forces.

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