Khalifa Hafter flies to Moscow

Tunis,  26 June 2016/Armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter is in Moscow for two days seeking spare parts for warplanes along with fresh weaponry.

Hafter flew on from Cairo at the head of a nine-strong party of senior officers, a source has told the Libya Herald.  While he was in Cairo, he is believed to have had preliminary discussions with a Russian delegation.  From the Egyptian government, Hafter also received promises of support in training and logistics and weapons supplies.

Hafter has been in Moscow before with an arms shopping list but the main result appears to have been the indirect delivery of four advanced helicopter gunships. The Russian-made Mi-35s are believed to have come from the UAE, which has no record of using this aircraft type.

This time Hafter is seeking spare parts for air force planes. It is certain that he will also be seeking other weaponry. However Russia is unlikely to be prepared to openly break the UN arms embargo.It continues to support the UN-backed Government of National Accord while insisting that prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj cannot start work until the House of Representatives has signed off on his administration.

Moscow may however be ready to provide the army with intelligence and technical support.

There are unconfirmed reports that HoR President Ageela Saleh has also travelled to Russia. If this is correct, tomorrow’s planned meeting of parliament, when a vote on the GNA, if not to amend the Constitutional Declaration, might finally have been is unlikely to take place. Saleh has insisted that members cannot hold a vote without his presence. There had been speculation that UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler was once again flying to Tobruk to urge an outcome from the debate.


Author: Hassan Khazaal

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