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    NATO Intervention Lead to Libyan Conflict - Lavrov

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov after talks with his Italian counterpart Alfano, who is currently in Russia with a working visit as the chairperson-in-office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), spoke about the conflict in Libya, Syrian peace process as well as areas of cooperation with the OSCE.

    On Libya

    The Libyan conflict was caused by the NATO intervention, Russia has always advocated for resolving the crisis through the national dialogue, Sergei Lavrov said.

    "From the very beginning of the international effort to restore order in Libya, which was destroyed by NATO aggression — illegal and violating the UN Security Council resolutions — we have advocated for national dialogue though which we should move toward overcoming the prevailing intolerable situation, when Libya turned into a gray zone through which the militants and arms smuggler entered the Sahara-Sahel region, while the waves of illegal migrants went in the opposite direction — from the south to the north – entering Europe, creating enormous problems for many European countries, including Italy," he noted.

    When asked about the possibility of holding a Libyan congress similar to the Syrian congress in Sochi, the Russian diplomat said that analogies can be drawn between the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Russia's Sochi and the initiatives for holding an event which would be aimed at Libyan national reconciliation and reunification, though the Libyan congress could be lengthier.

    READ MORE: Rome, Moscow Have Common View on Libyan Settlement — Italian Foreign Minister

    Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 civil war that resulted in the overturn of country’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. The eastern part of the crisis-torn state is governed by its parliament, with headquarters in the city of Tobruk. The parliament is backed by the Libyan National Army headed by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, which is engaged in struggle against militants. At the same time, the UN-backed GNA, headed by Fayez Sarraj, operates in the country's west and is headquartered in Tripoli

    On Syrian Peace Settlement

    Moscow expects that the results of the Syria national dialogue congress in Russia's southern resort of Sochi will help UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to promote the Geneva process, Lavrov said.

    READ MORE: Sochi Paves Solid Way for Syrian Peace Settlement, Now Geneva's Turn

    "We have informed our Italian friends in detail about the Syrian national dialogue congress held the day before yesterday in Sochi, which strengthened the prerequisites for establishing an all-inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254," the minister added after talks with his Italian counterpart.

    The Sochi All-Syrian Peace Congress was organized by Russia, Iran and Turkey with the support of the UN. It was held in Russia's resort city of Sochi in an attempt to accelerate the peace process in Syria. Despite the refusal to participate by some groups, over 1,500 delegates, who represented not only a broad political spectrum, but also all layers of Syrian society attended the Congress. 

    OSCE Role in Kosovo

    Russia would like the OSCE to have a greater role in the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo to focus on the unresolved issues in the region "in full compliance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1244," the Russian minister noted.

    READ MORE: US Pulling the Strings of Power in Kosovo — Expert

    The UNSC resolution 1244, adopted in 1999, provides a framework for the resolution of the conflict in Kosovo and authorizes the international civil and security presence in the self-proclaimed republic, among other decisions.

    The Kosovo War of 1998-1999 between the ethnically Kosovar Albanian forces and the former Yugoslavia, then consisting of Serbia and Montenegro, ended after the UN-backed international intervention. In 2008, Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia. Even though over 100 UN member states have officially recognized Kosovo, Serbia, alongside Russia, China, Israel and several other countries, did not recognize the move.

    On Cooperation Between Moscow and OSCE

    Moscow is interested in strengthening cooperation with the OSCE in the fight against cybercrime and terrorism, Lavrov said.

    "Russia is interested in close cooperation with the chairmanship of such key areas for the OSCE as the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, cyberthreats, the alignment of integration processes, the protection of traditional values, the rights of national minorities, countering anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, Islamophobia," the diplomat stressed.

    READ MORE: Moscow: US 'Kremlin Report' is Attempt to Interfere in Russian Presidential Vote

    Lavrov also added that Moscow is ready to invite the observers of the organisation's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to the Russian presidential election.

    "The OSCE has established working contacts with the [Russian] CEC [Central Election Commission], and all issues related to monitoring are coordinated," he added.

    The Russian presidential election will be held on March 18, while the campaign officially kicked off on December 18.

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    Tags:
    conflict, elections, OSCE, Sergei Lavrov, Libya, Syria, Russia
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