Putin to take part in Libya peace conference in Berlin: Kremlin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in a peace conference on Libya in Germany on Sunday, as world powers step up efforts to find a lasting ceasefire.

The peace talks in Berlin will focus on stopping the fighting and launching a “broad political dialogue” under the auspices of the United Nations, the Kremlin said.

Libya has been in turmoil since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

“On January 19 Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Berlin to take part in the International conference on Libya,” the Kremlin said.

Earlier in the day, Russia’s acting foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said preparations for the peace conference were nearly ready but lamented that the war-scarred country’s rivals refused to speak to each other.

“In my opinion, final documents look practically ready,” Lavrov told reporters.

But he underlined the huge tension between the heads of Libya’s warring sides -- Libyan National Army forces (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar in the east and the head of Tripoli’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj.

“So far ties between them are very tense, they don’t even want to be in the same room to say nothing of meeting each other,” Lavrov said.

Earlier this week, the two men attended talks in Moscow but Haftar left without signing a permanent truce.

Lavrov said it was important for both sides not to “repeat past mistakes” and put forward additional demands after the Berlin conference.

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