Russia to continue active policy in Libya

MOSCOW, August 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has never been an onlooker in Libya and will continue its active policy, Federation Council Committee on International Relations Chairman Mikhail Margelov said.

“We have never been an onlooker. We have most actively interacted with both Tripoli and Benghazi from the very start and tried to create a system of links between Tripoli and Benghazi and foster a Libyan-Libyan dialogue,” Margelov told Russia Today television on Monday, August 22.

According to Margelov, a new government in Libya should make sure that all oil revenues “work not for the regime but for the country”.

“It is very important for Russia that the first thing I heard from the leaders of the Transitional National Council in Benghazi was their assurances that all the contracts that were signed by the previous regime with Russia in the fields of energy, hydrocarbon production, infrastructure, construction of railway lines, and military-technical cooperation would be honoured and implemented,” Margelov said.

He believes that Muammar al-Gaddafi’s armed units will continue to resist for a long time. “Unless Gaddafi is arrested or flees the country, he will remain a symbol of the regime he created more than 40 years ago and the regime that will continue to hold on to power,” Margelov said.

In his opinion, the seizure of Tripoli is “only a new stage in the development of the political crisis”.

Margelov made a series of trips to the region in June in a bid to facilitate a peaceful settlement in Libya. He had talks with senior officials in the Jamahiriya in Tripoli and leaders of the opposition Transitional National Council in Benghazi.

He believes that the format of these consultations is “the optimal model for the cessation of hostilities in Libya and intensification of negotiations to be mediated by the African Union and the U.N.”

“The situation in Libya can be settled peacefully only under the umbrella of the U.N. and the regional organisation of the continent,” he said earlier, adding, “The isolation of the African Union in the very beginning was a gross mistake”.

Assessing the results of the discussion in the Ethiopian capital, Margelov said, “We should not expect any breakthrough at this point.”

In his opinion, it is necessary to work out “the order and succession of steps”.

“The main task is to help the Libyan sides reach a truce and find compromises in solving their problems. If the hot phase of the conflict is stopped, there will arise conditions for discussing details of the transition to peace,” the envoy said.

He noted the support for the dialogue from Washington and Brussels. “Naturally, this solutions will be more effective if it is supported by the U.S. and EU countries,” he said. “It is this support that can produce some positive results in the medium term.”

Margelov also welcomed the commencement of consultations between Tripoli and Paris.

According to Margelov, the parties to the conflict “should start talking about national reconciliation”.

“Wars in the East do not end quickly. The more blood is spilled, the more reasons for blood feud. Confrontation only increases losses from the export of hydrocarbons and leads to devastation of infrastructure that is hard to rebuilt,” he said.

He confirmed Moscow’s stance that “only Libyans themselves can find a way out of this crisis, as no foreign recipes can help”.

Speaking about Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi’s possible future, Margelov said, “There is a possible option where Gaddafi continues living in Libya as a private individual with his people and his tribe but relinquishes power and his family stays away from taking economic decisions.”

“Oriental countries have a strong tradition of forgiveness and reconciliation,” Margelov said. “Algeria’s former leader continued living quietly in his homeland after the overthrow of his regime, and a similar situation occurred with the former Sudanese President.”

Margelov believes that this solution could suit Libya as well.

“As for the outlooks of the Libyan opposition, it envisions Gaddafi’s departure from all the posts and the removal of his family members from the economic levers of power, but along with this they don’t make his departure from Libya a necessary condition,” he said.

“But all this is a subject of talks,” he added.

Margelov said that members of the National Transition Council would be content with any future for Gaddafi except for a political one.

“They do not need Gaddafi’s head, and no one is going to scalp him and nail it to the wall in his office,” he quoted members of the Transitional National Council as saying.

The Council will accept any future for Gaddafi “except one: neither he himself nor members of his family can engage in political activities in Libya or hold other positions”, Margelov said.

“I have the impression that the Transitional National Council is ready for a dialogue,” he added.

He stressed that the decision of the pre-trial division of the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Gaddafi does not close “the window of opportunity” for a political settlement in Libya.

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