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President Putin to take part in Libya peace conference in Berlin on Sunday: Kremlin

Libya strongman Haftar thanks 'dear friend' Putin for his peace efforts: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in a peace conference on Libya in Germany on Sunday, as world powers step up efforts to find a lasting ceasefire.

The peace talks in Berlin will focus on stopping the fighting and launching a "broad political dialogue" under the auspices of the United Nations, the Kremlin said.

Libya has been in turmoil since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

Last April, an assault on Tripoli by military strongman Khalifa Haftar's forces sparked fighting that has killed more than 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters, displacing thousands.

"On January 19 Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Berlin to take part in the International conference on Libya," the Kremlin said.

Earlier in the day, Russia's acting foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said preparations for the peace conference were nearly ready but lamented that the war-scarred country's rivals refused to speak to each other.

"In my opinion, final documents look practically ready," Lavrov told reporters.

But he underlined the huge tension between the heads of Libya's warring sides -- Haftar in the east and the head of Tripoli's UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj.

"So far ties between them are very tense, they don't even want to be in the same room to say nothing of meeting each other," Lavrov said.

Earlier this week, the two men attended talks in Moscow but Haftar left without signing a permanent truce.

Lavrov said it was important for both sides not to "repeat past mistakes" and put forward additional demands after the Berlin conference.

AFP reportedThursday, quoting Kremlin, the Libya strongman Haftar thanks 'dear friend' Putin for his peace efforts in the North African oil rich country.

"Vladimir Putin, my dear friend!" Haftar said in a letter to Putin, quoted by the Kremlin ahead of a Libya peace conference in Germany that the Russian leader will attend on Sunday.

"I express my personal gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of the Russian Federation to bring about peace and stability in Libya."

Lavrov said on Friday that documents for a Libya peace conference were nearly ready but the war-scarred country’s rivals refused to speak to each other.

Greece encouraged Haftar to be constructive at an upcoming conference in Berlin to try end the war over Tripoli, its foreign minister said on Friday after meeting the commander in Athens. According to Reuters

“We encouraged the commander to take part with a constructive spirit in Berlin’s procedure and try ... to achieve a ceasefire and the restoration of safety in Libya,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told reporters after the meeting.

He said Athens should have been a participant in the Berlin conference on Libya on Sund

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