Extremists are moving to Libya from Syria’s Idlib, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, as he commented on the situation in both of the conflict-ridden countries.
Lavrov also said the extremists’ move aims to destabilize the situation in the North African country.
“There are the remaining hotbeds of terrorist activity, namely in Idlib, where extremists have been losing ground,” TASS news agency cited Lavrov as saying on Jan. 14.
“But unfortunately, if we speak about ties between Syria and Libya, they [extremists] are largely moving to Libya in order to continue stirring the pot in that country.”
Russia’s top diplomat noted that some 90 percent of the country’s territory is currently under control of the Syrian government and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have been gaining ground.
“Certainly, the task for the future is to iron out problems in northeastern Syria, which are mainly caused by illegal presence of U.S. forces there who have been actively encouraging separatism on the right bank of the Euphrates,” Lavrov said.
Situation ‘better’ in Syria
Lavrov said that the situation in Syria is much better than in Libya because the political settlement process is underway in the Arab republic. This became possible since all parties to the conflict have a responsible approach, he noted.
A ceasefire in Libya proposed by the Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as part of a larger initiative to achieve peace in the country entered into force at midnight on Jan. 12.
The ceasefire’s objective is to stop hostilities between the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar and Fayez al-Serraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) sitting in Tripoli. Representatives of the parties to the conflict arrived in Moscow for talks on Jan. 13 after which GNA envoys signed a ceasefire agreement.
Haftar took a pause to study the agreement. However, later he left Moscow without putting his signature under the document.
‘Haftar taking two days’
Commenting on the talks, Lavrov said that no final results on the settlement in Libya have been achieved, but efforts will continue.
“We will push ahead with efforts in this direction, no final results have been achieved so far,” he said.
Moscow is proposing piecing together actions taken by key actors to achieve settlement in Libya.
“All efforts now taken by Europeans including Germans, the French, Italians, the efforts by Libyan neighbors – Algeria, Egypt – as well as the UAE, Turkey, Qatar and Russia, we want to piece them all together so that everyone acts in one direction and urges all Libyan parties to reach agreements rather than sort things out militarily,” he said.
The Russian defense ministry was quoted by Interfax news agency on Jan. 14 as saying Haftar had been positive about the ceasefire deal and was taking two days to consider it.
Germany invited Libya’s Serraj, Haftar to conference
Meanwhile, Germany confirmed on Jan. 14 it will host a conference on Jan. 19 in Berlin to support the United Nations’ effort to achieve peace and reconciliation in Libya after months of violence. Representatives from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Turkey, Italy and the U.N. will be among the participants, said the German government in a statement.
Germany has also invited Serraj and Haftar, it said.