Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni will go to Moscow, possibly as early as next week for talks with the Russian government, Russia’s ambassador to Libya, Ivan Molotkov, has said to Libyaherald.
“It is likely to take place soon, maybe next week,” he was quoted by Russia’s Sputnik news agency as saying today.
The details of the visit are currently being agreed, the ambassador said, but “the agreement in principle has already been reached”.
The main aim of the visit by Thinni is thought to be the supply of Russian military equipment for the fight against Islamic State forces in Derna and elsewhere as well as against those of Libya Dawn in the west of the country.
Relations with Russia, at rock-bottom at the start of the revolution because of Moscow’s support for the Qaddafi regime, have improved vastly over the past year and especially in the past few months, while those with the US and the UK have become ever more strained. The reason has been the latter’s opposition to providing Libya with arms to confront the growing terrorist threat until a new government of national unity is formed. That could still take months.
In contrast, Moscow (and China, also earlier regarded with suspicion by the post-revolution authorities) has strongly backed the House of Representatives against the claims of the rump General National Congress and Libya Dawn.
Last month, the government’s information chief, Omar Gawairi, noted the sea-change in Moscow’s attitude towards Libya since the revolution, stating that Thinni would shortly be heading there and indicating that arms supplies were a rpime reason for the visit.
In February, Libya’s former foreign minister and now ambassador-at-large for the House of Representatives. Mohamed Abdulaziz, while on a visit to Moscow, indicated that the Russia was interested in supplying Libyan with armaments and military supplies.