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Hafter taking power in Libya surprises Moscow.

Hafter taking power in Libya surprises Moscow.

Russia described the succession of Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army supported by Moscow, as “abrupt,” the Russian Information Agency said, quoting a Foreign Ministry source. Haftar, whose forces have been fighting more than a year for control of the capital, Tripoli, announced on Monday evening “dropping” the political agreement signed in Skhirat in Morocco in 2015 and receiving a “popular mandate” to run the country.

“This is surprising,” the source at the Russian Foreign Ministry told Reuters news agency. He added that the most important thing is for the Libyans themselves, with the help of the international community, to implement the military and political decisions reached at a conference in Berlin last January.

“We support the continuation of the political process. There is no military solution to the conflict,” he added. The political agreement signed by the Libyan parties at the end of 2015 entrusted the country’s political authority with the elected parliament in 2014 (a legislative authority) and the presidential council of the National Accord Government (executive authority), along with the Supreme Council of State.

Libya has been divided since 2014 between areas under the control of the internationally recognized government of National Accord in Tripoli and the northwest, and areas controlled by forces stationed in Benghazi, in the east of the country.

The conflict escalated sharply this month, with heavy fighting on several fronts in the west of the country, despite urgent calls from the United Nations and relief organizations for a ceasefire to face the emerging crisis of the Coruna virus.According to the United Nations, hundreds have been killed and more than 200,000 displaced since Haftar launched his offensive to seize Tripoli in April 2019.

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