By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 4 May 2016:
UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler has moved on from talks in Qatar to Moscow where he is . . .[restrict]due to meet deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov. His mission seems sure to be aiming to persuade Russia to soften its refusal to work with the Government of National Accord until it has been endorsed by the House of Representatives.
Russia has welcomed the UN-brokered GNA and the Presidency Council under the leadership of prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj. It is however insisting that the Libyan Political Agreement, which last December it backed along with the rest of the UN Security Council, must be honoured in every detail.
In the Qatari capital Doha, Kobler said that he had received full support tfrom the Qatari foreign minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani for Libyan Political Agreement to be made a reality. This was echoed by Al-Thani who said that he and Kobler had had good exchanges.
This evening Kobler Tweeted a picture from his limousine as it crossed the Moskva river heading into the centre of the Russian capital. Russia has always maintained that the NATO exceeded its UN mandate by converting it from a no-fly zone to protect the civil population into an out-and-out campaign for regime change.
Moscow is also leery of the US and EU belief that the UN mandate to attack IS in Syria and Iraq can be extended to cover IS in Libya. Just over a year ago, Bogdanov said that Russian would deliver weapons to “the legally-elected authorities in Libya” as and when the UN Security Council agreed to lift the arms embargo imposed in February 2011.
Russia was the major arms supplier to the Qaddafi regime. Much of the equipment, including tanks, Grad rockets and the ubiquitous Kalashnikov AK 47 automatic rifles used by the Libyan National Army and rival militias is Russian. Moscow would clearly like to maintain its historic military supply links when the UN arms embargo is finally lifted. [/restrict]