- Putin dismisses rumours that there are mercenaries supported by Moscow on Libyan soil.
- "If there are Russian citizens there, they do not represent the interests of the Russian State and do not receive money from the Russian State," Putin said.
- The aim of the peace talks, Merkel said, is to give Libya the opportunity to "become a sovereign and peaceful country."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, called for a solution to the crisis in Libya Saturday. After a meeting in Moscow, which also discussed the escalation of tensions in the Middle East, both leaders urged the parties to negotiate. Earlier this week, Russia and Turkey— which support opposing sides— called for a cease fire.
The peace talks, Merkel said, will be held in Berlin under the auspices of the UN. “We hope that the joint efforts by Russia and Turkey will lead to success, and we will soon send out invitations for a conference in Berlin,” the German chancellor said on Saturday at a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin of Russia, in Moscow. In the joint press conference, after a meeting between the two leaders for almost four hours, Putin also denied the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya where, according to various sources, they are helping the troops loyal to Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
In fact, Turkey has accused Moscow of sending 2,000 mercenaries to Libya. “If there are Russian citizens there, they do not represent the interests of the Russian State and do not receive money from the Russian State,” Putin said. “In any war there are mercenaries,” added the President, whose meeting with the German Chancellor concluded a day of intense telephone conversations about Libya, with the leaders of the Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt.
The aim of the peace talks, Merkel said, is to give the North African country the opportunity to “become a sovereign and peaceful country.” All parties will have a role in the talks, said the Chancellor. Her visit to Moscow to discuss the situation, at such an intense moment of tensions in the Middle East, shows Germany’s approach to Russia, despite the sanctions. “Unfortunately, hostilities continue in Libya, terrorist activity is growing and the economy and social sphere, unfortunately, are degrading,” said Putin, who urged the finding of a solution.
Troops loyal to Haftar— who are supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia— are fighting against those of the Government of National Accord— the only one recognized by the UN and with effective support from Turkey, which has sent military instructors. “It has a negative projection on Europe,” Putin said. “I mean illegal migration, smuggling, trade and the proliferation of weapons,” he added.
In addition, at the meeting, which lasted about three and a half hours, both leaders talked about the need to resolve the escalation of tension in the Middle East and to find a solution for the nuclear agreement with Iran. Germany and Russia are among the world powers that have been trying to save the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, after the United States withdrew from the agreement unilaterally in 2018. They also talked about the situation in Syria, and the construction of the controversial Nord Stream gas pipeline –2, which should bring Russian gas to Germany, but whose construction is currently suspended by sanctions.