Haftar Meets with Russian Foreign Minister to Discuss Terrorism in Libya

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)


REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

A meeting between General Khalifa Haftar and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took place on Tuesday in Moscow. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Russia’s support for Haftar’s alleged war against terrorism in Libya.

In May 2014, Haftar launched Operation Dignity, claiming to be fighting a war against terrorism in eastern Libya. However, reports released by Human Rights Watch and other humanitarian organizations have found evidence that Haftar targeted anyone who opposed him, including civilians.  

Haftar’s trip to Moscow this week will be his second visit to Russia since this summer.

“Our relations are crucial, our goal today is to give life to these relations,” Haftar said before the meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister began.

“We hope we will eliminate terrorism with your help in the nearest future.”

Libya is struggling with political instability as two powerful political entities, the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the Libyan parliament in Tobruk, struggle to find common ground.

Many of Haftar’s opponents claim that he is fighting to control eastern Libya and that his ultimate plan is to rule over the country.

On Monday, Haftar met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to discuss his military needs.

In addition to Russia, Haftar has support from Egypt as well as the United Arab Emirates and France, who earlier had admitted to working alongside Haftar’s forces in a special operation in eastern Libya.

The UN Security Council’s arms embargo, which was imposed on Libya in 2011, has proven to be a challenge for Haftar’s military suppliers. The UN has only allowed the Government of National Accord (GNA) to import weapons and other military equipment.

Russian officials would not respond to questions about whether or not Russia will supply Haftar with military equipment and weapons.

“Moscow is in touch with various Libyan representatives and contacts with Haftar take place as part of this process,” said Dmitry Peskov the spokesperson for the Kremlin on Tuesday.

Russia has previously printed banknotes that were sent to the Libyan Central Bank’s eastern branch.

Speaking to reporters, Haftar said, “We explained our position with regards to arms supplies. As a great country, Russia respects the arms embargo until it indicates it is an unjust verdict.”

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