Libya hoping for breakthrough in ties with Russia – official
Libya is working to improve its economy by strengthening ties with Russia, the leader of the African country’s High State Council (HSC), Mohammed Takala, said in an interview published by TASS on Tuesday.
The Libyan official made the statement during a meeting with Russian Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko.
“Through contacts like this, we are hoping to make a breakthrough in our relations and bring them to a potentially new and better level,” Takala said, according to TASS.
Turmoil has plagued the once-prosperous African country since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown with the help of NATO. The events left Libya divided between two rival administrations, one in the capital Tripoli and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk. There have been several attempts to unite them under a single authority, but all have failed.
Takala was elected leader of the Tripoli-based High State Council (HSC) in August; the HSC holds a major stake in political matters under a 2015 agreement and has been negotiating an electoral path with Libya’s main parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), in Tobruk.
The oil-rich country has been subject to international sanctions for years and is attempting to recover from more than a decade of instability.
During talks with Libya’s Presidential Council Chairman Mohamed Yunus al-Menfi at the Russia-Africa summit in July, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to support Libya as it seeks to achieve national unity and sovereignty.
Both leaders also agreed to improve cooperation in priority areas such as industrial and transportation infrastructure, as well as energy.
Earlier this month, Libyan Culture Minister Mabruka Togi Osman met with her Russian counterpart Olga Lyubimova to discuss future plans for partnership, including offering scholarships to Libyan students.
On Tuesday, Takala also proposed a collaboration between the Russian and Libyan parliaments, which he believes is critical for bolstering economic ties.
“We know that the work of parliaments is extremely important in the context of lawmaking in all countries. It helps the executive branch, governments, to do the job properly. It also helps strengthen economic ties. We can work to make them even better,” he told Matviyenko.