The US State Department said Thursday that the cause of Turkish intervention in the situation in Libya was the “Russian presence” in that country.
Assistant US Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs David Schenker, during a briefing for journalists, said that military equipment, weapons, and mercenaries from Russia were allegedly present in Libya, which “led to the significant Turkish intervention that is ongoing,” the State Department press service reports.
“We see the ongoing intervention of foreign actors as a challenge to US interests and regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as a tragedy for the Libyan people. Libyans want peace and an end to foreign intervention,” Schenker added.
According to him, the US “continues to call for de-escalation, a ceasefire and a return to political negotiations.”
The authorities of the Russian Federation previously repeatedly denied allegations of a Russian military presence in Libya. So, the Kremlin called the US statement “duck” about the allegedly destabilizing role of Russia’s “military intervention” in resolving the situation in Libya. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, said that allegations that “Russian mercenaries” are present in this Arab country are rumors. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in an interview on Tuesday with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that statements about the presence of employees of the private military company Wagner in Libya are based on rigged information.
In Libya, for a long time, two executive bodies have existed in parallel: the Faiz Sarraj Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the temporary cabinet of Abdullah Abdurrahman at-Thani, acting in the east of the country together with the parliament and supported by the Libyan National Army under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. For more than a year, the warring camps have been fighting for the main city of the country, after Haftar launched an attack on Tripoli on April 4, 2019, with the goal, as he claimed, of freeing the capital from terrorists.
On January 19, a conference on Libyan settlement at the level of heads of state and government, including the Russian Federation, was held in Berlin. In the final document, the participants in the meeting called for a ceasefire, pledged to refrain from interfering in Libyan affairs, proposed creating a single government, and launching reforms to restore statehood, destroyed by the NATO intervention almost 10 years ago. As a result of the second round of inter-Libyan negotiations in Geneva on February 23, a draft ceasefire agreement was prepared, which was never implemented.