Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to charges in a Pentagon report that he received UAE funding to send private mercenaries to Libya, saying that "Moscow's position is well known in settling the issue peacefully."
Speaking at a joint press conference at the end of consultations with his UAE counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Moscow on Monday, Lavrov said that "Moscow has on several occasions provided clarifications on various reports of Russia's actions in the context of the Libyan crisis" and reiterated that its position is well known.
Russia wants to restore Libya's state institutions, he said, calling for a return to the causes of the crisis in the country which began nine years ago. Lavrov pointed out that his country's efforts with Egypt and the UAE are aimed at launching the political process through the efforts of the Libyan parties and neighboring countries.
At the end of his visit to Moscow, the UAE Foreign Minister said that his country "looks forward with Russia to the stability of Libya soon, which faces a major challenges." The UAE Minister welcomed the Russian initiative for peace in the region, noting that the UAE is working with Arab and international parties to ensure the stability of the situation in Libya.
"We will work with our colleagues from the Berlin meeting, our friends around the world and the Arab League to ensure the stability of the situation in Libya as soon as possible," bin Zayed said.
In early December, a Pentagon report claimed that the UAE was helping to finance Russian Wagner mercenaries in Libya. The Pentagon's inspector general for counterterrorism operations in Africa said the funding would complicate Washington's relationship with Abu Dhabi, especially as Democrats mount a campaign to oppose the massive deal to sell U.S. arms and ammunition to the UAE in exchange for about $23 billion.
The report is Washington's first official public assessment of the UAE's role in funding the Wagner group. The presence of mercenaries belonging to the Russian Wagner group in Libya since the beginning of September 2019 is noted.