Russian FM Lavrov to take part in Berlin conference on Libya

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the Berlin conference on the Libyan settlement on Jan.19, he said at an annual news conference in Moscow on Friday.

He will hold a meeting with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio prior to the principal event, Lavrov added.

Lavrov also said he expects the talks to be difficult, and characterized the relations between the warring sides as "very tense", adding that efforts of many countries are needed to persuade them to start a political dialogue.

"The more countries take part [in peace efforts on Libya], the better. It is not easy to persuade these people, we have to unite our powers. The relations are very tense, they don't even want to be in the same room, let alone speaking to each other," Lavrov said.

Lavrov praised the cease-fire that the Libyan sides declared on Jan.12, as "a certain step forward" in the Libyan settlement.

The final document for the Berlin meeting is almost agreed on, he said, urging both sides to avoid setting additional conditions after the end of the conference.

The Skhirat agreement is a good starting point, containing the basic principles for the launch of the political process, he stressed, and added that the agreements, achieved in Abu Dhabi, Paris and Palermo, are also "useful".

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to the call of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, the sides in the Libyan conflict gathered in the Russian capital Moscow to discuss a cease-fire meant to end the hostilities in Libya and start a political dialogue, but Haftar rejected to sign the deal and he left the meeting after al-Sarraj signed the deal.

Syria: Progress in all directions

Referring to the Syrian crisis, Lavrov said there has been progress "in almost all directions," including military, diplomatic, political and humanitarian.

The economic restoration is delayed, because the sanctions imposed on the country are hindering the process, and "some countries" change their positions depending on the situation, said Lavrov.

He added that these countries first promised to lift the sanctions with the start of the political process, but when it started, they said it was necessary to wait for the concrete results.

The principal goal, defeating terrorism in Syria, is reached, Lavrov stressed.

He also announced the visit of the UN's Special Envoy on Syria Geir Pedersen to Moscow and Damascus next week, aiming to push the political process.

"I hope the talks and his trips and contacts with the Syrian leadership will allow us to set a schedule for the future work of the Constitutional Committee," he said.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

Libya calls to invite Qatar, Tunisia to Berlin Conference

The Libyan Foreign Ministry demanded that both Qatar and Tunisia be invited to take part in the Berlin conference salted for Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) sent an official letter to the German embassy in Tripoli, urging Berlin to include both countries in the conference, and confirmed that their participation would promote the peace talks and Libya's stability, according to the Libyan Al-Ahrar televised channel.

The ministry said Tunisia is "a neighboring country to Libya which hosted thousands of Libyans and its security has been affected by the ongoing crisis."

"Qatar was, and still, an important supporter to the Libyan Feb. 17 revolution which ousted Libya's long-ruling Muammar Gaddafi regime," the statement added.

The German government had announced that head of GNA Fayez al-Sarraj, Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar as well as Turkey, Russia, China, France, Italy, the U.S., the U.K., United Arab Emirates, Republic of Congo, UN, EU, African Union, Arab League, Algeria, and Egypt were invited to the conference.

On Jan. 12, the warring sides in the Libyan conflict announced a ceasefire in response to a call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

Haftar to attend Berlin conference on Libya: Source

Renegade Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar will participate in an international conference in Berlin on the Libyan crisis this Sunday, according to a source privy to the matter.

The source who asked not to be named said on Thursday that "Haftar has received an official invitation from Germany to attend the Berlin conference and [he] will be traveling with Libyan jurist Aguila Saleh".

Germany seeks to bring countries concerned with the Libyan issue at the Berlin conference in an attempt to reach a political solution to the conflict.

According to the UN, more than 1,000 people have been killed and more than 5,000 others injured since Haftar launched his campaign in April.

On Jan. 12, the internationally recognized government and Haftar accepted a cease-fire called by Turkey and Russia to end hostilities in Tripoli. However, Haftar left Moscow on Tuesday without signing the proposed deal.

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.