Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Tuesday urged Libya’s conflicting sides to announce a cease-fire in the war-torn country.
Speaking at a video conference following a virtual meeting with India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Lavrov said the decision on a peaceful settlement must be made by the Libyans themselves, while the role of the external players is to provide the conditions for peace talks.
Lavrov added that during the entire course of the conflict, the initiative and military superiority passed from one opposing side to the other several times and it resembles a swing.
“So I see no option but an immediate cease-fire. And the resolution of all other issues on the basis of a negotiation process in line with the understandings set out in the declaration of the Berlin conference,” the minister said.
Lavrov said in his recent telephone calls with Turkish and Egyptian foreign ministers, both ministers underlined the need for warring parties in Libya to return to the negotiating table.
“Both ministers underlined that everyone should acknowledge that there can be no military solution to this conflict, parties should return to the negotiating table and seek a solution that would be acceptable to all,” he said.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya’s new 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 the warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces.
The internationally recognized government in Libya has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.
In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital and recently retook strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and strategic city of Tarhuna.
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