Putin blames NATO for Libya's bombing and destruction, says Russia not obligated to make any effort

ANADOLU AGENCY
MADRID
Published 05.07.2019 11:08
Updated 05.07.2019 11:17
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a joint press conference at the Chigi palace with Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte (not in picture) after their meeting, in Rome, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a joint press conference at the Chigi palace with Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte (not in picture) after their meeting, in Rome, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (AP Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed NATO Thursday for the destruction of Libya, saying the result was chaos.

Speaking at a news conference in Rome along with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Putin said it is also important to recall how it started.

"Do you remember who destroyed Libya? It was a NATO decision. It was European aircraft that bombed Libya. What we see is chaos and fighting between various armed groups. I do not think that Russia needs to be the main contributor to a resolution of the conflict. Let's ask those who created the problem," he said.

"We want to tackle this problem. We believe that it is important to talk to everyone. We also think it is necessary to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible. It is necessary to start dialogue as soon as possible," he added.

He said more and more militants and terrorists were moving from Syria into Libya, which was "very threatening".

"We need to work with our EU friends to maintain dialogue with all parties in Libya in order to help the Libyan people restore the functioning of their institutes."

Conte said the international community can unite and help all the involved parties in Libya come to the negotiation table and reach a ceasefire.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving leader Moammar Gadhafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, Libya's stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily armed militia groups.

Touching on the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, Putin said the global economy will be harmed if the two countries fail to find a way out of the trade frictions.

"The entire global economy will be hurt, with global trade being down by 17% by 2024 and global GDP down by 2%," he said, adding this would be bad for everyone.

"We would like them to reach an agreement that would be beneficial to both of them," he said, adding no efforts must be spared to reach an agreement.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 summit Saturday in Osaka to restart trade talks.

Since assuming office in 2017, Trump has been saying that China is waging a trade war against the U.S. by subsidizing Chinese state-owned businesses, stealing U.S. intellectual property for years and pressuring American companies to share trade secrets if they want to do business in China.

Commenting on Russia's extension of retaliatory sanctions on the European Union until the end of 2020, Putin underlined that EU countries are losing millions of dollars due to the sanctions, but ending them mostly depends on the EU.

The EU first imposed economic sanctions on Russia in 2014 over its role in the conflict in Ukraine. In response, Russia halted imports of some European foods and other products.

Ukraine has been wracked by conflict since March 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote.

The U.N. General Assembly voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal.

Russia's annexation led Western powers, including the U.S., to impose sanctions on Moscow.

Along with the UN General Assembly, the U.S., EU and Turkey do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Putin's news conference followed a one-day state visit to Italy, where he met with Pope Francis, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Conte

He discussed the Syrian, Venezuelan and Ukrainian crises with the Pope.

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