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Russia Not to 'Greenlight' Any Side to Libyan Conflict - Contact Group Head

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow believes that the Libyan crisis should be resolved peacefully and it does not intend to support or "greenlight" any side to the conflict, according to the head of the Russian Contact Group for the intra-Libyan settlement, Lev Dengov.

"Our policy has not changed. I believe it will not change. We favor political dialogue and peaceful settlement in Libya. We are against any use of force, violence and military methods of settling the intra-Libyan conflict. We do not support any side to the Libyan conflict… As I see it, Russia has no intention to interfere, to block any side or to greenlight it, on the contrary," Dengov said.

He stressed that Russia was ready to hold consultations with any side to the conflict and to share its peacemaking experience.

READ MORE: Libya 'On Verge of Descending' Into Civil War — UN Support Mission Chief

Dengov voiced the belief that multiple sides to the Libyan conflict were unlikely to reach consensus in near future.

"Different sides have different views, and we know how many sides there are there. Moreover, different foreign sides are exercising their influence, and each side has its own views and interests. So, it will be difficult to consolidate this construction. This is a thorough and intricate job, and this is mainly Russia that currently does this job as an active participant of the peace process," Dengov explained.

The Russian Embassy in Tripoli

Head of the Russian Contact Group also raised doubts that the Russian Embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, which was closed in 2013 amid escalation of tensions in the North African country, will resume its operations soon.

"We always discuss it. We don't forget about this matter. However, we cannot currently be sure that our diplomats would feel safe in Tripoli, and this means that one should not expect that this matter would be resolved soon. I think that in the foreseeable future we will draw mainly on security in the country and in Tripoli in particular [when making decisions on possible reopening of the embassy]. We could then discuss this matter in more detail, but it is currently premature to discuss it," Dengov said.    

Postponement of GNA Deputy Prime Minister's visit to Moscow     

Dengov also added that Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq's visit to Moscow was postponed for technical reasons and the meeting might take place in June.

"There is no political background in this. This is an absolutely technical point. There are issues that need to be fully worked out. Some points have not been sufficiently worked out for the visit, so the decision was made to just postpone it," Dengov said. "In the next two to three weeks the visit will take place, or next week we will know about the new dates and we will continue the dialogue".

Allegations about mercenaries sent to Libya by Russia

According to Lev Dengov, media reports claiming that Russia sends mercenaries to fight in Libya and that Turkey is delivering weapons to Libya in circumvention of arms embargo are groundless propagandist bogus stories aimed at undermining negotiations on Libyan crisis settlement.

"Both in media and in the global community, there are different players that are somehow related to the Libyan processes and that try to manipulate information… No official source has confirmed that it has happened [that Russia has sent mercenaries to Libya]. Yes, some people are peddling something, some people are delivering something, and some people are telling that Russia has sent 1,000 people there. These are all unsubstantiated facts [claims] that cannot be referred to," Dengov said.

A MiG-21 fighter jet belonging to forces loyal to former general Khalifa Haftar takes off from a base on the outskirts of Al Sidra oil port, in Ras Lanuf - Sputnik International
LNA Says Haftar-Led Air Forces Destroyed GNA's Operation Headquarters in Libya
He stressed that all the interested sides understood that it was necessary to comply with UN resolutions.

"Arms embargo has been imposed on Libya and I do not think that the Turkish government would be that reckless to explicitly violate it. I think there is some propaganda there [in related reports], perhaps from people or countries that are interested in staging another provocation in order to escalate conflict," Dengov said.

READ MORE: Libya's LNA Forces Capture 'Portuguese Pilot' After Downing Jet Near Tripoli

As soon as the parties to the Libyan conflict agree on something, media reports aimed at undermining agreement emerge, Dengov said.

"We should find out who is interested in maintaining constant chaos in Libya and then make further steps, based upon this information," Dengov concluded.

Haftar's Offensive

Head of the Russian Contact Group for the intra-Libyan settlement also added that Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar should coordinate his actions with Tripoli.

"In connection with Haftar's offensive, I can only say one thing: in order to characterise or evaluate his actions, you need to understand how coordinated his steps were. He outlined his mission, so to speak, as the mission of a man who is clearing Libya of terrorists. Unfortunately, we cannot understand who he calls terrorists," Dengov said. "Such actions should be coordinated with Tripoli and with the Government of National Accord, because for all Libyans terrorists are enemies. Therefore, Libyans cannot be enemies of terrorists on the one hand, and friends of terrorists on the other".

The situation in Libya, which has been suffering from unrest and been divided between two governments since 2011, deteriorated on April 4, after the east-based Libyan National Army launched an offensive on the Libyan capital of Tripoli, which is controlled by the UN-backed Government of National Accord. Two days later, the latter announced a counteroffensive dubbed Volcano of Rage.

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