Lavrov in Tunisia, Warns of Threats Posed by Terrorist Groups in Libya
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Saturday of the "continued threat of terrorist groups in neighboring Libya."
He revealed during a joint press conference with his Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui that Moscow and Tunis agreed to bolster cooperation on counter-terrorism efforts.
"Today we agreed to boost our anti-terrorism cooperation, both within the United Nations and through bilateral ties," he stressed.
For his part, Jhinaoui called on Russia to invest in Tunisia, especially in the field of infrastructure.
He highlighted the importance of the flow of Russian tourists to Tunisia and efforts to increase their numbers. Some 600,000 Russians visited the North African country in 2018.
Lavrov had arrived in Tunis Saturday after making stops in Morocco and Algeria. His trip follows up on a visit made by Jhinaoui to Moscow in March 2016.
The Tunisian Foreign Ministry noted that it marks an opportunity to discuss means of boosting bilateral cooperation, especially in tourism, trade, investment, culture, transport and finance.
Both parties are also scheduled to review the program of the seventh session of the Tunisian-Russian Joint Committee, which will be held this year.
The political and security crisis in Libya has topped bilateral talks with Russia due to Tunisia’s strategic position with its neighbor. Tunis can wield its influence in convincing Libyan parties to hold fair and transparent elections to end their country’s eight-year conflict.
Russia, meanwhile, is seeking to play a role in resolving Libya’s protracted crisis, as well as contribute in its reconstruction. It will compete with many western countries, notably France and Italy, over reconstruction projects in the country.
Moscow is also eyeing Libya’s vast natural resources and opportunities to invest in them.