April 5, 2019 / 9:33 AM / 7 months ago

Kremlin says it is not backing Libyan commander Haftar's westward push

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Friday it was not helping Libyan military forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar push westward and that it supported a negotiated political settlement to Libya’s problems that ruled out any new bloodshed.

The Kremlin was commenting after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was flying to eastern Libya to meet Haftar, whose forces a day earlier began an offensive to take control of the capital currently held by an internationally recognized government.

“We are closely following the situation in Libya,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “Of course we consider that the most important thing is that (military) operations there do not lead to bloodshed. The situation should be resolved peacefully.”

Asked if Moscow was backing Haftar’s new westwards push, Peskov said it wasn’t and was not involved in current events.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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