Russia’s representatives at the United Nations have refused to endorse an extension of the international organization’s special political mission in the troubled North African nation of Libya, diplomatic sources have claimed.
French news agency AFP reported on Wednesday that Moscow’s envoys had laid down Russia’s veto as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, potentially blocking the work of the delegation ahead of a presidential election set to take place in December.
Citing sources within the global intergovernmental body, AFP reports that the mandate for the UN mission is set to expire later on Wednesday, and that Russian diplomats had rejected wording around the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from the nation, as well as the political scope of its mission in Libya.
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Russia’s permanent mission to the UN in New York has declined to comment, saying only that negotiations are still ongoing. Moscow has previously said that an abrupt withdrawal of military forces, without adequate planning, could lead to chaos.
Controversial private military company the Wagner Group is understood to operate in Libya, and a UN report has accused Russia of laying on “suspicious” cargo flights that it says are designed to resupply fighters in the east of the country, which has been torn apart by civil war since the fall of veteran leader Muammar Gadaffi’s government in 2011.
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