Tripoli: April 2: A senior Russian arms official has claimed his country is in the process of resuming relations with Libya over . . .[restrict]arms contracts, worth $4 billion that were struck with the Qaddafi regime.
The statement, from the first deputy chairman of the military-technical cooperation of Russia, Alexander Fomin, surprised some observers in Tripoli, who pointed out that Fomin had been speaking to reporters at an air show in Chile.
“We are resuming contacts with Libya” he is reported to have said, adding “Russia’s ambition is now to resume cooperation with Libya in different fields. Russia is determined to help the Libyan leadership transition and the resumption of cooperation in various fields with the country for this purpose.”
Fomin’s colleague, Anatoly Isaykin, director of “Rosobornexport “, the company which operates Russia’s exports of weapons, said recently that Russia looked forward to talking with Libya on the resumption of military-technical cooperation.
Though with the 2003 lifting on UN sanctions, the Qaddafi regime began to build up an eclectic mix armaments from other countries, the Libyan armed forces continued to function largely with Russian equipment.
At one point, Qaddafi had three thousand Soviet-era main battle tanks, one of the world’s largest concentrations of armour. However, because of the sanctions, at least half of them were laid up for lack of spares. Up until 2011 much of the equipment was being upgraded but because the maintenance and logistics cadres within Qaddafi’s army were often inefficient, Russian technicians were sent here to assist in the upkeep of equipment.
It was not possible to contact anyone in the Libya government to comment on Fomin’s announcement. [/restrict]