Libya’s Haftar Meets Putin in Moscow for First Time

Middle East

Sat 01 June 2019:

Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday in what was the first official and declared meeting between them. Libyan sources close to Haftar said he sought to convince Putin to help lift the embargo that as been imposed on the LNA by the United Nations Security Council. They also discussed Russian assistance in developing the LNA’s weapons, they added. Haftar had arrived in the Russian capital on Thursday.

The pro-LNA Libyan news agency quoted a source from Haftar’s office as saying that the trip was a routine visit that falls within the ongoing coordination between Libya and Russia on counter-terrorism.  Haftar had paid several visits to Russia in the past where he met with senior officials at the defense and foreign ministries.   Meanwhile, Fayez al-Sarraj’s GNA was still banking on a shift in stance by US President Donald Trump on the Libyan crisis. 

GNA media hailed a letter sent by four US congressmen that calls on Trump to demand a ceasefire in Libya. The congressmen expressed their concern over Haftar’s operation, warning it may ignite a more violent civil war.
Near the eastern city of Benghazi, meanwhile, the head of Libya’s oil workers’ labor union, Saad Dinar, was released on Thursday after being held by eastern security authorities for almost a month, a relative said.
Earlier in the day, Dinar said on his Facebook page that he was let go after what he described as “routine interrogation.”
The Tripoli-based Libyan state oil firm NOC called a week ago for Dinar’s release.

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