Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu received Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strong man from eastern Libya, whom Russia is accused of supporting in its conflict with the Tripoli government. The two men discussed the situation in Libya, the “important role of negotiations” organized in Moscow in January and the “need to fulfill” the conditions set at an international conference, says a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry in Berlin.
The Russian army did not specify the place of their meeting and gave a few additional details. Going on the offense in April 2019 against Tripoli, Marshal Haftar is supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, while the GNA, supported by the UN, enjoys the support of Turkey and Qatar.
Russia is particularly suspected of supporting Marshal Haftar, a Russian speaker who studied in the Soviet Union, with weapons, money, and mercenaries from the Russian private group Wagner, which Moscow denies.
At an international conference in Berlin on January 19, promises were also made to end the interference, encourage negotiations and respect the arms embargo. Sporadic fighting nevertheless continues to take place daily near Tripoli, and arms continue to pour into the country.
Clashes between rival Libyan factions have not stopped in the country since the fall, in 2011, of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi, after a revolt and a military intervention led by France, Great Britain, and the United States.