14 May 202020:19

Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on a briefing at the US Department of State, during which remarks were made about Russia’s “destructive role” in Libyan affairs


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We noted a briefing by Henry Wooster, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Maghreb and Egypt, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and Christopher Robinson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, on May 7, during which critical remarks were made about Russia’s “destructive role” in Libyan affairs. Russia was accused of deliberately “fomenting the Libyan conflict” and using “hybrid tactics,” specifically, combining military force and disinformation. However, the remark that Moscow allegedly interferes with Washington’s “peacekeeping efforts” in Libya came as a real surprise.

In this regard, we would like to note that the United States is directly responsible for the Libya crisis which continues to this day. In 2011, in flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, the United States, in conjunction with its NATO allies, launched an armed aggression against the Libyan Jamahiriya which included destroying state institutions and security agencies in the country while unbalancing interregional and tribe-to-tribe relations.

After the Gaddafi government was toppled, the United States, in fact, disassociated itself from Libyan issues and the collective efforts to promote a comprehensive political settlement of the situation in that country. Washington’s passive approach towards preparing and holding the International Conference on Libya held in Berlin in January is the latest manifestation of this policy. 

As you may know, Russia was against NATO’s reckless venture in Libya and was not involved in the country’s destruction. Nevertheless, from the outset of the dramatic events in Libya, we have been taking energetic steps to normalise the situation both within the multilateral formats under UN auspices and on a bilateral basis. We maintain constructive contact with all Libyan parties and try to convince them of the futility of attempts to resolve the existing differences through military means. We encourage them to hold a dialogue and to consider compromises. As you may recall, the truce announced by the participants of the intra-Libyan conflict at the initiative of the presidents of Russia and Turkey on January 12 created a favourable background for holding the above Berlin conference. 

The briefing by the US State Department’s representatives is bewildering not only in its blatantly biased accusations against us, but also in its disrespect for elementary diplomatic ethics. We would like to note that on December 10, 2019, during Sergey Lavrov’s working visit to Washington, Russia proposed holding an expert dialogue with the United States on the range of issues of mutual interest with a view to reaching a political settlement in the Libya crisis. We did not receive a clear response at that time or later. We do not want to think that the above briefing was a kind of “response” to our proposal.

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