Russia is a key player in efforts to end Libya’s protracted conflict and is seeking to foster dialogue between the oil-rich country’s warring sides, according to Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio on Tuesday.

During a press briefing, Di Maio said, “Moscow is an important interlocutor in the solution of the Libyan crisis”.

Russia’s “commitment to facilitating a constructive and moderate approach by the various sides will be crucial,” Di Maio further added.

On his part, Lavrov said Russia is keen to cooperate closely with Italy in international efforts to end Libya’s years-old civil war.

He expressed Russia’s wish to “work intensely” with Italy for peace in Libya.

Last week, Russia and Turkey announced that it would continue efforts to end hostilities in Libya despite strongman Khalifa Haftar leaving the peace talks in Moscow without signing a permanent ceasefire deal.

More than 280 civilians and about 2,000 fighters have been killed and 146,000 Libyans displaced since Haftar launched his assault to seize the capital Tripoli, according to the United Nations.

The Libya agreement underscores the rising clout of Putin in the region as well as his increasingly strong relationship with Erdogan, despite Turkey’s membership of Nato and the two countries’ support for opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.

Last year, in October, Putin spoke to his Turkish counterpart Erdogan over the phone and invited the Turkish leader to visit Russia soon “for a working visit in the coming days”.

Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.

The Syrian army entered the city of Tabqa in the northern countryside of Raqqa province, as part of its move to enter Kurdish-held areas to counter the ongoing Turkish assault in the region.

More than 50 people, including civilians, have been killed last week as the Turkish offensive in Syria, which was launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aimed at pushing the Kurdish forces away from its border.

(With inputs from agency)