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Putin, Merkel discuss preparations for Berlin international conference on Libya — Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have had a phone conversation to discuss preparations for the upcoming international conference on Libyan reconciliation in Berlin, the Kremlin press service said on Monday.

The conversation was held on the German side’s initiative.

“The process of preparing for the international conference on Libyan settlement in Berlin was discussed,” the press service said in a statement.

Besides, Putin briefed Merkel about the latest meeting of forces involved in the Libyan conflict, which convened in Moscow on Monday.

During the conference, Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj and head of Libya’s High Council of State Khaled al-Mishri have signed the draft document on the settlement in the country, while commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar has taken a pause until Tuesday morning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

Berlin conference

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Merkel on January 11, Putin described Germany’s initiative to hold an international conference on Libya as “timely.” “The Berlin conference needs to ensure attendance of those states that are truly determined to help resolve the Libya crisis so that it could bring about tangible results. What is more important is that its decisions should be negotiated in a preliminary plan with the Libyan parties,” he added.

Earlier, the German government initiated a series of international consultations on the situation in Libya with high-ranking officials from a number of states, including Russia. The initiative was later became known as the Berlin Process. Its declared goal was to provide support to efforts of UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salame.

First consultations were held in Berlin on September 17. Russian Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov represented Russia during the talks. Also taking part in the meeting were representatives of the US, France, the UK, Italy, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the Arab League, the African Union and the European Union.

Reuters earlier reported that Germany plans to hold an international conference on Libyan reconciliation on January 19. The Kremlin said it would later announce whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would take part.

Currently, Libya has two parallel bodies of executive power: the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by al-Sarraj, and Abdullah Abdurrahman al-Thani’s interim government, operating in the country’s east together with parliament and supported by Haftar’s LNA. After a prolonged standoff that has engulfed the area near Tripoli since April 4, Haftar on December 12 declared the beginning of a decisive push towards the capital.

The ceasefire proposed by Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of a larger initiative to achieve peace in Libya entered into force at midnight on January 12. The ceasefire’s objective is to stop hostilities between the LNA and the GNA.

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