Russia’s Foreign Ministry Denies Receiving Requests from Libya for Intervention

Editorial Comment:

We republished an article from the Strategic Culture Foundation titled, “Russia Asked to End Arms Embargo Against the Libyan National Army“. According to an official statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, this information is inaccurate.

The actual statement to the press from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova is published below.

Jamahiriya News Agency

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova Moscow, September 29, 2016

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Izvestia article “Libyan Army Asks Russia for Weapons”

Yesterday the Izvestia newspaper published an article “Libyan Army Asks Russia for Weapons” which, quoting “sources close to diplomatic circles,” reported that lifting the international arms embargo and supplying armaments and military equipment to the Libyan National Army (LNA) were discussed at a recent meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry with LNA Commander Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s special envoy Abdel al-Badri, Libya’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Such requests were reportedly contained in Haftar’s messages to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu delivered by the Libyan emissary.

Regarding this article, we would like to stress the following.

During Al-Badri’s stay in Moscow on September 24, not 26 as reported by Izvestia, these issues were not discussed, nor were any messages delivered to the leaders of the Russian Federation.

I would like to reiterate that the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs operates seven days a week with no days-off, we never make any exceptions for anyone, we work with everyone. If someone wants to write something about the Ministry, please ask us, and we will always comment so as to avoid such ridiculous reporting.

As this issue has gotten a lot of play in the media, I would like to address it in some detail. Guided by an interest in preserving the unity of Libya and reviving the Libyan state, Russia is working and intends to continue working with all Libyan parties. We consistently call on them to engage in a constructive dialogue in order to arrive at mutually acceptable solutions on all remaining disputed issues, first of all concerning the establishment of nation-wide government authorities and law-enforcement bodies. This was stressed, among other topics, during Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting on September 23 with Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly session in New York during ministerial week. We said the same to Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Libya, who visited Moscow on September 9, and later to Ambassador al-Badri.

Regarding weapons deliveries, Russia strictly adheres to its obligations, like all members of the international community, arising from the relevant resolutions of the UNSC on Libya. Moreover, in contacts with our foreign partners we call on them to carefully weigh all the pros and cons when considering the possibility of lifting or softening the arms embargo on Libya, taking into account the specific features of the  internal political situation in that country.  We believe that the issues of providing Libyans with this sort of assistance and special military operations in Libya should be addressed with the utmost care and consideration so as not to damage the UN-led political process underway there.

That’s what one little article can do.