Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu met Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian media reported, signalling Kremlin support ahead of a conference aimed at settling the north African country’s years of strife.
Russia’s military has long shown backing for the Libyan commander, who dominates eastern Libya. He visited Russia previously and last year the Russian defence ministry hosted him aboard its only aircraft carrier.
Shoigu and Haftar discussed the Libyan crisis and the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa, Russian news agencies said, citing a defence ministry statement, without giving details.
Italy will host an international conference on Libya on November 12 and 13, which Haftar will attend, Italy said. Haftar’s office has not confirmed his attendance.
Haftar’s office said the Moscow meeting covered ways to end Libya’s crisis and the fight against terrorism.
Russia is expected to send high-level representatives to the Palermo meeting.