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article imageEastern Libyan commander Haftar to meet with Lavrov in Russia

By Ken Hanly     Aug 13, 2017 in Politics
Moscow - Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar commander of the Libyan National Army(LNA), the armed forces associated with the House of Representatives (HoR) government in eastern Libya arrived in Moscow for talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov scheduled on Monday.
The head of the Russian contact group Lev Dengov had said earlier in the day that Haftar's plane had been delayed but late Saturday announced that he had arrived and checked in to a hotel. Haftar does not recognize the Government of National Accord (GNA) supported and brokered by the UN and headed by Faiez Serraj. The GNA is based in Tripoli in the west of Libya. Russia has supported Haftar who has visited Russia several times. However Russia appears to be trying to find a way out of the Libyan political crisis if it can.
Dengov had said previously that Russia wanted to renew contracts it had with the Gaddafi regime for infrastructure and energy developments.
Haftar was in Russia last November for two days where he met with defense minister Sergei Shoygu and Lavrov as well. In January of this year he also met with officials on the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov while it was off the Libyan coast. The talks on Monday are likely to discuss the declaration made between Haftar and GNA Presidency Council(PC) head Faiez Serraj back in Paris recently as described in a Digital Journal article. Reports that Serraj would also be in Moscow this weekend were denied by the PC but Serraj had met with Russian officials in Moscow this March. At the time, Russia said that it wanted to help repair damage that had resulted from Western involvement in the country.
Degov said that there will also be discussions during Haftar's meeting with Lavrov of an eventual meeting with Serraj. He said that relevant questions on reconciling the parties and their conflict will be addressed There have been reports that Russia may be willing to provide Haftar with military equipment as has the UAE and Egypt. Serraj appears weak and unable to project the authority of his GNA government outside of Tripoli and has problems controlling militias even there. While in Paris on paper there is a ten point agreement that provides a roadmap for security and defence and holding elections as soon as possible, much remains to be done to make the plan a reality. A recent tweet confirms the planned meeting: Khalifa Haftar arrives in #Moscow, will meet w/ Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov on Monday. #Libya #Russia
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