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The New Arab

Libya strongman Haftar in Moscow for talks: sources

Last year, Haftar visited Moscow three times [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 August, 2018

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Libya's east-based strongman is in the Russian capital on an unannounced working visit for talks with local officials, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

Libya's east-based strongman is in the Russian capital on an unannounced working visit for talks with local officials, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar arrived in Moscow on Thursday, according to sources close to the military commander.

"Haftar's visit comes after an unannounced meeting with UN Secretary-General in Libya Stephanie Williams," the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

"Williams demanded he stop his military campaigns and release prisoners in exchange for reserving him a key role in a UN-backed plan to revive political talks," the sources said.

Libyan media have reported that Haftar will discuss efforts to lift a UN arms embargo imposed on the North African country since February 2011.

Last year, Haftar visited Moscow several times and met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other senior officials.

Russia, despite courting Haftar and hosting him on regular visits, has actually kept equidistant with him and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by Haftar.

A myriad of militias, jihadist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.

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