Presidential elections in Libya may be held in mid-2018, Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala said Wednesday at the Valdai Club panel discussion in Russia.
“We believe that presidential elections will be held in the middle of 2018,” Siala said.
He invited Russia to reopen its embassy in Tripoli.
“There are a lot of rumors that Tripoli is not safe… It is about time that the Russian embassy starts to practice from Tripoli,” Siala said.
Siala also called on Russian companies to return into Tripoli.
“All Russian companies are welcome. We have a witness of the security situation in Tripoli, and all Russian companies are welcome,” Siala said.
Earlier, Lev Dengov, head of the contact group on Libya at the Russian Foreign Ministry and State Duma, said that a forum with participation of all parties to the Libyan conflict may be held prior to elections in the country.
He told Spunik on Wednesday that Russia may act as a mediator at such a forum.
“Theoretically, the format may be linked to the implementation of the Skhirat agreement [on political settlement], or to the issue of holding elections.
“Then, all parties to the Libyan conflict might sit at a negotiating table and agree, for example, on the aspects of holding elections,” Dengov said, stressing that the format of such a forum had not been developed yet.
Dengov noted that Russia “may act as a mediator” at the forum, if organised.
Additionally, Russia is able to propose Libya a plan for the regulation of the post-war crisis in the country in case Moscow receives a relevant request, the contact group head added.
“We have heard from the Russian Foreign Minister [Sergey Lavrov] that Russia is very experienced in regulating the Syrian conflict. Libya is not Syria, but our experience in communicating with the parties to the conflict is unique.
“This gives us an opportunity to offer our help in the settlement [of the Libyan conflict] in case we receive such a request,” the official pointed out.
As an active player in the Libyan settlement, Russia “will contribute to stabilization of the situation [in the country] and the format, in which this will be carried out, should be agreed upon after the receiving such a request from the Libyan side,” Dengov explained.
“After receiving such a request, the Russian leadership will be able to make the decision [on involvement in the crisis settlement].
“We have not received such a request so far,” the official noted.