Too many possible scenarios in Libya warns Russian politician

Sergey Ivanov (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov confirmed on Wednesday that Russia would not participate in NATO’s operation in Libya after meeting with top Washington and members of Congress.

­According to the deputy prime minister, it was not he but rather his American hosts who introduced the subject of Libya.

In response to the question as to how Russia envisions possible future scenarios for the North African nation, which is now torn between anti-government rebels and loyalists to Muammar Gaddafi, Ivanov said the possible outcome scenarios were worrisome.

“There are more scenarios and more questions than we would like,” Ivanov responded.  

When asked if he sees any options for Russia’s involvement in the Libyan conflict and the post-conflict settlement, Ivanov responded that even if there are such options they deal only with post-conflict situation because “no one understands how the current situation will end.”

The American side also showed interest in what exactly constitutes the Libyan opposition, how it is connected with al-Qaeda and what are Muammar Gaddafi’s options as far as letting go of power.

Ivanov told reporters that the Russian side was interested in the earliest possible end of the Libyan standoff and return to peace in the region.

"We would like the situation to stabilise, because otherwise it will affect our interests, including those in the oil sphere," Ivanov said.

"I think such conflicts, which result in instability and an inevitable sharp increase in energy prices, are not beneficial for Russia. Stable prices would be more beneficial for us," he added.

Ivanov added that the US officials had no questions regarding Russia’s position on the UN Security Council resolution.  

Russia abstained from the UN Security Council vote on Resolution 1973, which authorized an international coalition to use “all the necessary means” for protecting the lives of Libyan civilians who are caught in the middle of the civil war. The resolution also created a no-fly zone across Libya, yet does not grant permission for opening ground operations.

Moscow has expressed its concerns that NATO forces were too quick to rush into war, while also showing partiality for the rebel forces fighting against Gaddafi without having a clear understanding as to the identity of the opposition.