‘US statements are fake, not Libyan money’: Moscow rebuffs accusations of printing counterfeit dinars
Moscow printed dinars for Libya in accordance with a government contract, so Washington’s claims of it being fake money have nothing to do with reality, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
The US State Department announced on Friday that $1.1 billion worth of “counterfeit, Russian-printed Libyan currency” was seized in Malta earlier this week.
Moscow confirmed the dinars were indeed printed by Russian state-owned company Goznak, but it was done in accordance with a contract it signed with the Central Bank of Libya in 2015. The order was fully paid for by the Libyan side, it was announced.
Following the NATO-backed removal of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and years of chaos, Libya is now run by two rival governments, which both have their own central banks. Moscow said it sent money to Benghazi, which is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar, because the head of the local bank was appointed by the democratically elected parliament. The seized money was essential for stabilizing the troubled Libyan economy, the ministry added.
Therefore, it’s the American statements that are false, but not the Libyan dinars.
Washington, which backs the UN recognized Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), has labeled the LNA and its bank “an illegal parallel entity.”
Moscow reiterated its stance that the conflict in Libya should only be solved behind the negotiations table, calling upon the sides to lay down arms and start talking.
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