Comment by the Information and Press Department on the latest developments in Libya

We have to state that the military and political situation in Libya has grown worse lately.

On May 18, units of the so-called Misrata's Third Force and Benghazi Defence Brigades affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia (a local branch of Al-Qaeda), reportedly carried out an armed raid on the Brak al-Shati air base near the city of Sabha in the south of the country. The attack was accompanied by a massacre of Libyan National Army servicemen stationed at the base. According to reports, over 140 servicemen were killed. Civilians who were working at the base or happened to be in that area are also among the victims of the raid. The Libyan Air Force carried out retaliatory strikes on the attackers' positions. At present, the Libyan National Army has reportedly regained control over the air base.

Moscow is deeply worried over the surge in tensions in Libya. The killing of dozens of people, including civilians, deserves condemnation. What happened looks like a planned provocation aimed at disrupting the agreements reached in Abu Dhabi on May 2, 2017 by leaders from eastern and western Libya and reversing the emerging signs of progress in the intra-Libyan settlement in general.

We are repeating our persistent calls on all Libyan forces to refrain from the use of force and unilateral steps fraught with an escalation of the conflict and potential disastrous consequences for the Libyan statehood. We proceed from the premise that disputes must be resolved at the negotiating table within the framework of an inclusive dialogue based on the Skhirat political agreement, which was signed on December 17, 2015 and endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2259. It is necessary to prevent the political process in Libya from falling hostage to illegal armed formations waging subversive activities that threaten the interests of preserving the country's territorial integrity and unity.

Source: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.