Egypt, Russia FMs hold phone talks on ties, regional issues

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, where they discussed bilateral ties as well as regional issues of mutual concern, Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

“The two ministers exchanged views on developments in the region, the foremost of which is the situation in Libya,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez in a statement on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Libya has been engaged in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments with warring forces: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

Egypt and Russia, along with the United Arab Emirates, support Haftar’s LNA, while the GNA is mainly backed by Turkey and Qatar.

Russia is one of the countries that have voiced support for Egypt’s recently proposed peace initiative for a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

Shoukry and Lavrov also discussed the development of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the controversial grand hydropower dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River, according to the statement.