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Russia's FM discusses Libya, bilateral ties with FM Shoukry in visit to Egypt

Egypt Foreign Minister Shoukry said that Egypt supports reaching political solutions in Libya and putting an end to military actions

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 Apr 2019
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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In a press conference with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on all parties involved in the recent military escalation in Libya to put an end to recent hostilities and start a dialogue with no preconditions.

Meanwhile, Shoukry said that Egypt supports reaching political solutions in Libya and putting an end to military action in order to allow for the holding of elections.

Shoukry also spoke about the importance of unifying the military institution in Libya and preserving state institutions, calling for the Libyan parties to work with the UN special envoy to the country.

Shoukry and Lavrov had held talks earlier on Saturday where they discussed a number of regional crises and bilateral issues.

Earlier in the day, Lavrov met with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi where they discussed the recent development in the Middle East as well as bilateral relations.

In the press conference, Lavrov explained that Russia has already made contact with all parties involved in Libya in order to reach a solution to the current crisis and put a limit to military actions.

On Thursday, the troops of Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar launched a military operation, declaring that the mission aims to capture the capital Tripoli in the west of the country.

"Egypt and Russia are working together for a peaceful settlement for Middle East crises," Lavrov said.

On bilateral relations, Lavrov said that direct Russian flights between Cairo and Moscow, which have been suspended by Moscow since November 2016, will return as soon as possible.

He discussed concluding the work of Russian security specialists in Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh airports.

The Russian foreign minister also revealed that Russia's President Vladimir Putin and President El-Sisi will meet in Sochi later this year.

Lavrov also praised the positive improvements in cooperation between Egypt and Russia in the commercial, technological and economic fields.

Lavrov is set to meet with Ahmed Abul-Gheit, the current secretary-general of the League of Arab States, during his visit to Cairo.

In an interview with Al-Ahram daily newspaper conducted shortly before his visit, Lavrov discussed several regional issues, at the top of which are the situation in Syria and the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Lavrov expressed his relief that several Arab countries have begun to resume diplomatic, commercial and economic relations with Damascus.

On US president Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights, Lavrov said that the move was "destroying all the efforts to solve the Middle East conflict."

"The US’ recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel is a clear violation of the UN charter, international laws and principles, and a number of UN Security Council resolutions," he said, adding that this decision is also a clear violation of the ‘land for peace’ principle that was agreed upon in the Madrid peace conference in 1991 under the sponsorship of Russia and the US.

Concerning the rumoured "deal of the century" on a new Israeli-Palestinian peace process supported by President Trump's administration, Lavrov said that the US has not shared with Russia the details of the deal.

"The rumours say that this suggested deal may lead to peace between Arabs and Israel outside the internationally recognised legal frameworks to reach a settlement. We are sure that this will lead to a dead end," he said, adding that no settlement will be reached without a two-state solution.

Concerning the Palestinian-Israeli talks, Lavrov said that Russian President Putin suggested in fall 2016 hosting a peace summit in Moscow with no pre-conditions.

"We are still ready to host the leaders of Palestine and Israel in Moscow, we think that these high-level talks may provide an exit in the current crisis," he said.

The Russian foreign minister also praised Egypt’s role in the Palestinian reconciliation process, saying that the end of the Palestinian split is an important condition for the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli settlement talks.

Lavrov also highlighted that Moscow hosted this year a meeting between different Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, in an effort to end the Palestinian split.

Upon concluding his Cairo visit, Lavrov will head to Amman, Jordan, according to the Russian foreign ministry.

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