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A meeting between Putin and the Russian Defense Minister with Haftar in Moscow

The first meeting between the Russian President and the commander of the “Libyan National Army” since 2019 touched on the situation in Libya and the region.

نائب وزير الدفاع يونس بك يفكيروف مستقبلاً خليفة حفتر (أ ف ب)
نائب وزير الدفاع يونس بك يفكيروف مستقبلاً خليفة حفتر (أ ف ب)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu received in Moscow Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is visiting Russia, according to what the Kremlin and Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya announced yesterday, Thursday.

The General Command of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces confirmed on its Facebook page that Haftar "is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Russian capital, Moscow."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to the Russian "TASS" agency that the meeting took place, noting that he touched on "the situation in Libya and the region," without providing additional details.

This is the first meeting between Putin and Haftar since 2019, according to Libyan media.

Haftar, an influential man in eastern Libya, arrived in Russia on Tuesday to discuss the situation in his country and bilateral relations. He was received by Deputy Defense Minister Yunusbek Yevkirov, former leader of the Muslim-majority Republic of Ingushetia.

Yevkirov has previously visited eastern Libya repeatedly to meet Haftar.

The last meeting between the two men dates back to September 17, and took place in Benghazi at the headquarters of the General Command of the “Libyan Arab Armed Forces,” the forces loyal to Haftar, a few days after the floods that resulted in thousands of deaths and missing people in eastern Libya, especially the city of Derna.

For several years, Russia has been making diplomatic efforts in Africa to replace traditional Western powers.

Russia, which faces isolation on the international scene and is searching for allies, has redoubled its efforts in this regard since its attack on Ukraine in February 2022.

Moscow maintains close relations with Field Marshal Haftar, who resorted to the Wagner Group in his attempt to control Tripoli between April 2019 and June 2020.

This attempt was followed in October 2020 by a truce agreement, the commitment of which was supervised by a military committee composed of five representatives from each camp.

Since then, hundreds of Wagner members are still active in the east, in the oil refinery area, and in southern Libya, after some of the group went to Mali or to Ukraine to fight alongside Russian forces.

After the 2011 revolution, which was supported by NATO, toppled the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was plunged into conflicts that divided it. Its affairs are handled by two governments, one of which is internationally recognized and headquartered in Tripoli, where the Attorney General is based, and the other is in the east, which was hit by floods.



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