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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Question: Does Moscow share the UN’s assessments that the Libyan parliament failed to cope with the task of creating a constitutional basis for holding elections in December? Does Moscow see the danger that the elections may not take place at all?

Answer: One of the main messages addressed by the participants of the Berlin Conference to the transitional Libyan authorities was the call for the holding of general elections strictly on schedule – December 24, 2021. This provision was clearly recorded in the final document of the meeting.

Of course, we cannot but be concerned that the schedule for the implementation of the tasks of the transition period has begun to falter. The work on the formation of the legislative base of the electoral process has not yet been completed. Discussions within the framework of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (FLPD), whose regular meeting ended in early July in Geneva, revealed the existence of certain disagreements among its participants on the preparation and conduct of elections.

Recently, the High Election Commission of Libya announced a new deadline for the approval of the legislative framework – August 1 of this year. We hope that in the remaining time everyone on whom the successful implementation of this task depends – FLPD members, parliament members and members of the Supreme State Council – will show responsibility for the fate of their country and will do everything necessary to ensure that the elections are held in accordance with the settlement roadmap.

Question: The final document of the second Berlin conference on Libya speaks of the need for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries from Libya, and this point was not supported only by Turkey. The United States claims that Russia is negotiating with Turkey on the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and instructors from Libya. Can you confirm that a dialogue on this issue with Ankara has been launched? To what extent is Turkey ready to compromise on this issue?

Answer: The problem of a foreign military presence is one of the most acute for Libya today. Without her decision, there is no need to talk about a genuine and reliable settlement in the country. This problem was in the focus of attention of the participants of the conference held in Berlin. As you know, it was not possible to reach an absolute consensus at that time. The Turkish delegation reserved a dissenting opinion.

This topic is also present in our bilateral contacts with foreign partners, to whom we explain the Russian position on this issue. It is well known and consists in the fact that the process of evacuation of foreign military elements must be synchronized in time and involve all non-Libyan armed formations in the country. Otherwise, the existing balance of power will be upset, thanks to which the country has remained calm for a year.

At the same time, I want to emphasize that we are not conducting substantive negotiations on the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and military personnel from Libyan territory either with Turkey or with any other party. The Libyans themselves, represented by the country’s leadership, should first of all solve this problem.

Question: Are Russia and the United States conducting a dialogue on a Libyan settlement and, if so, how productive do Moscow consider such interaction? Was the issue of Libya discussed at the Geneva summit? Do we see Washington’s readiness to coordinate steps with Russia for a settlement in Libya?

Answer: We are open to dialogue on Libya with all interested parties, including, of course, the United States. In this regard, I would like to note that back in December 2019, during negotiations with US Secretary of State M. Pompeo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov voiced a proposal to launch a mechanism for Russian-American consultations on the entire spectrum of issues of promoting an inclusive inter-Libyan political settlement. Unfortunately, we have not received a response to this initiative.

However, this does not mean that we do not interact at all with our American colleagues on Libyan issues. In November last year, we held detailed consultations in Moscow with the US Special Representative for Libya, US Ambassador to Tripoli R. Norland. “On the sidelines” of the Berlin conference, I conducted a useful “clock check” with him. I repeat once again: we are ready to coordinate steps in the Libyan direction with Washington and other influential players. I am sure that this would be useful for moving towards a long-term settlement in Libya with the leading role of the UN.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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