Russian and Libyan foreign ministers meet in Moscow amid peace push

Russian and Libyan foreign ministers meet in Moscow amid peace push
3 min read
30 December, 2020
Russia's Sergey Lavrov and Libya's Mohammed Taher Siala met to discuss the ceasefire in the North African country.
Mohamed Taher Siala called on Russia to support the withdrawal of foreign fighters [Getty]

Libya's Foreign Minister Mohammed Taher Sialas met Russia's Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, as intervening powers look to end the ongoing conflict in Libya, where Russia is a key player.

Siala, of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), spoke with Lavrov about the need for stability in Libya, the withdrawal of foreign troops, and consolidating a ceasefire in the war-ravaged country

Siala called on Russia to "support agreements on the withdrawal of foreign fighters from Libya", and asked parties who "believed that military actions are the solution in Libya to restore their calculations, support the peaceful solution, and help the fighters to leave".

Russia has been a long-term supporter of the GNA's rival, Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) militia coalition have waged war against the Tripoli government, including a recent failed offensive on the capital.

Moscow has supplied the renegade general with arms and military support from the shadowy Russian Wagner Group mercenary force, but now Russia has pledged to support peace efforts in Libya. 

"We are looking forward to consolidating the ceasefire in Libya, despite some violations," Lavrov said, referring to the ceasefire that is currently in place in the country.

"We must do everything to consolidate this ceasefire agreement, including through the support of the five-plus-five military committee created by the parties."

The 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission was established in February, consisting of five senior military officers chosen by the GNA and five selected by Haftar.

The two men also discussed outcomes of a recent meeting between Libya and a delegation from Cairo.

Russia and Egypt - along with the UAE - have been the main supporters of the LNA militia force, but have recently called for political solution to the war after Haftar's forces military losses in July.

Siala described the Cairo delegation as "long overdue".

"We would have liked the Egyptian side to be close to the parties, to contribute to building trust between them," he said.

While the two men discussed issues in Moscow, the Libyan Dialogue Forum started an online session, including 75 representives from all parties and regions in Libya.

Read more: Divided Europe: How the West lost influence in Libya's war

In a message sent to members by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, the meeting will discuss the latest developments in the country, but with no further details.

Following the announcement that national elections will take place on 24 December 2021, there have been increased efforts to stabilise the ceasefire and a push for national unity.

Russia has been party to these efforts and is seeking to secure valuable construction contracts and energy deals worth up to $3.5 billion.

Prior to their meeting, the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Ahmed Maiteeq, said Russia has huge economic opportunities in Libya if peace is achieved.

"I hope that the next stage will be a phase of great economic cooperation. Russia had large economic networks in Libya during the rule of the previous regime," Maiteeq said.

"We hope that the economic agreement between Russia and Libya will be signed and renewed."


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