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Libya’s Haftar Meets Putin in Moscow for First Time

Libya’s Haftar Meets Putin in Moscow for First Time

Saturday, 1 June, 2019 - 06:45
Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar. (AP)

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.

Separately, the LNA denied reports of the death of one of Haftar’s sons, Khaled, during the battle to liberate Tripoli from terrorist and criminal gangs that are affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA).

It said that the claim was a rumor circulated by the Muslim Brotherhood press.

Activists also alleged Khaled’s death, saying he was killed in Turkish drone attacks on Gharyan city, some 80 kms south of the capital.

Khaled leads the 106 brigade. He has appeared in footage several times since the launch of the operation against Tripoli on April 4.

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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