The Libyan unrest and the fight against the Islamic State (IS) were at center of talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni here on Friday on the sidelines of a conference on the Mediterranean.

 

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Lavrov told a joint press conference after the talks that Russia is not seeking to join the United States-led coalition to fight against the IS in Syria, but wants coordination on an equal basis.

 

As regards the Libyan issue, Lavrov said Russia is “sincerely interested in stabilization of the situation in Libya.”

 

“We welcome and support efforts of the Italian colleagues aimed at the international community’s help to Libyans to overcome the current split and form a national government,” he said ahead of a conference on Libya to be held in Rome on Sunday.

 

“When such a national Libyan government is formed it will decide how to solve the problems Libya is facing,” Lavrov also added.

 

Lavrov then noted that Russian-Italian economic relations are positive despite the recent problems with the European Union (EU) following the Ukraine crisis, that in his view should be solved only based on the Minsk deal.

 

Gentiloni recalled that Italy is Russia’s second biggest trading partner in Europe, and the Italian business community continues to be very active in the Russian market. The two countries are also bound by long-standing historical and cultural ties, he added.

 

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