Members of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country's east strongman Khalifa Haftar, open fire during clashes with militants in Benghazi's central Akhribish district on November 9, 2017. (AFP photo)
TRIPOLI, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Russia demands Libya to form a unified national government before resuming weapon supplies to the country, said Russian ambassador to Libya, Ivan Molotkov, in an interview with Xinhua on Friday.
"Russia, before the Libyan revolution, had strong military ties with Libya and provided the Libyan army with sophisticated weapons. But after that, international resolutions were issued banning the provision of arms to Libya. We, as a member of the UN Security Council, have to review the resolutions," said Molotkov.
Molotkov stressed Moscow's belief that "providing Libya with weapons in the current situation is dangerous, because there is no guarantee that the arms will not fall into the wrong hands, especially in the presence of terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (IS)."
However, the Russian ambassador said that it is possible to provide arms to Libya again after the situation stabilizes and a national unity government is formed replacing the UN-backed government in Tripoli and the government in Tobrug.
Libya is suffering a political crisis with two rival powers in the east and the west, amid insecurity and chaos.
Regarding the request of Libya's eastern-based army commander, General Khalifa Haftar, for arms to eliminate terrorist organizations in Libya, Molotkov said that "Haftar wants and wishes to obtain weapons, but we do not provide arms to him or to any other parties in Libya."
Moscow is also interested in developing economic relations with Libya, added the Russian diplomat.
"About a month ago, a large delegation from Tripoli, headed by the Libyan Minister of Transport and accompanied by over 30 representatives of companies and institutions, were in Moscow and held discussions with Russian officials including Minister of Trade and Industry, as well as relevant Russian institutions interested in developing cooperation with Libya," Molotkov revealed.
Molotkov hoped for "a quick peaceful solution to Libya which Moscow supports."
Speaking of the UN-sponsored political dialogue between Libyan parties, Molotkov was optimistic about the talks, especially between the House of Representatives and the Higher Council of State. "However, we see that this dialogue is halted."
"Russia is against military solutions in Libya. Any military solution would make the issue more complicated. We are against any military solution as long as there is a possibility of dialogue and agreement," Molotkov explained.
"We believe that the solution to Libya's is political. Dialogue remains the best way to restore stability and establish a national unity government. We believe that this is better than any military solution," he added.
When asked about foreign interference, Molotkov said that "foreign military interference is totally unacceptable," explaining that the foreign interference in Libya in 2011 caused the turmoil that followed.
"Foreign aid, such as political assistance and help in finding a peaceful solution, is acceptable and is not interference. Other than that, we do not accept it," Molotkov said.
In the end, he called on all Libyans to "be patient and refrain from any attempts of weapons and forces to impose any solution."