Russia plans to maintain its active involvement into intra-Libyan affairs but does not take sides in the conflict, First Deputy Head of the Russian government office Sergei Prikhodko told reporters on Tuesday in connection with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's participation in the international conference on Libya in Italy's Palermo TASS reported.
"As Libya's friend, Russia will not take the position of a bystander, but will instead maintain active involvement into intra-Libyan affairs, especially now, at the turning point of its history. In cooperation with all representative groups of the Libyan society, we resolutely intend to continue assisting in the task of returning peace and prosperity to this country," Prikhodko said.
"We do not take sides in the intra-Libyan conflict. Guided by the interest of preserving sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya, we maintain balanced contacts with all main military-political forces in the country. The aim remains the same - to help them overcome existing disagreements and reach agreements on contentious issues," he added.
The official emphasized that the main work on Libyan settlement should be carried out under UN auspices. "Russia supports efforts made by United Nations Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame on implementing UN Action Plan that envisages holding a national conference and inclusive Libyan elections," Prikhodko said.
The main obstacle on the way of Libyan settlement is the unsatisfactory situation in the sphere of security and operation of terrorist groups in the country, he added. "The threat of terrorist acts remains, including again foreign interests," he noted.
Sergei Prikhodko said Russia sees no alternative to talks between conflicting sides in the Libyan conflict, but outside mediation of political process in the country is important.
"We think that there is no alternative to the negotiations process. All Libyan sides should continue dialogue in search of compromise, basing on the Skhirat Agreement which represents the only viable foundation for achieveing long-lasting settlement. This is mentioned, in particular, in the UN SC Resolution 2434 adopted on September 13," Prikhodko said.
"In this context, external mediation of the political process in the country should play an important role, with strict respect for Libya's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is principally important that it [mediation] is coordinated and remains in the framework of US Action Plan for Libya. In this regard, we consider Italy's initiative to hold an international conference in Palermo rather timely," he added.
Moscow thinks that "Libyan themselves play the main role in leading Libya out of crisis," the official noted. "Russia hopes that holding inclusive, trustworthy parliamentary and presidential elections in Libya will allow to create a comprehensive system of government, which will be able to lead the country on the trajectory toward sustainable growth. We call upon the Libyan sides directly involved in the matter of national reconciliation and establishment of a new Libya, to show their good will, ability to overcome disagreements and solve common tasks by joint efforts," the First Deputy Head of the Russian government office said.
Sergei Prikhodko also said that Russian companies may continue participating in joint investment projects together with Libya when the security situation in the North African country normalizes and unified government institutions are established.
"When it comes to trade and economic cooperation with Libya, we proceed from the condition that Russian companies will participate in joint investment projects when the security situation in the country normalized and unified government institutions are formed in Libya," Prikhodko said.
"There are spheres where effective cooperation is already possible - for instance, in boosting trade turnover. It is evident that the current bilateral trade turnover at $200 million is below the existing potential. The interest of Russian business circles toward Libya is evident, and this is a good prerequisite for close joint work. We intend to prepare the conditions to restore partnership in different spheres once the circumstances become more favorable," Prikhodko said.