By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 29 June 2016:
Fast on the heels of Khalifa Hafter who was in Moscow yesterday for talks on arms supplies with Russia’s defence and foreign ministers, one of his inveterate foes, Presidency Council member Ahmed Maetig, arrived there today with a small delegation to give his version of the Libyan crisis.
Russia, which invited Maetig, is looking to again play a role in Libya. Officially supportive of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and UN-led efforts to being about peace and stability in Libya, it is nonetheless sceptical about the LPA’s chances of success and is developing its own mediation process.
So far, though, Maetig does not seem to have been accorded the same status as Hafter, reflecting possibly Russia’s views as to who, in practical terms, is the more important. Whereas the general met the Russia’s Security Council head Nikolai Patrushev (effectively its head), Maetig met with his deputy, Yevgeny Lukyanov. Likewise, Hafter is reported to have met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov while Maerig met Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
Bogdanov heads the ministry’s Middle East and Africa section and is also President Putin’s special envoy to the two areas.
According to Maetig’s Facebook page, the reason for Marig’s invitation was to demonstrate Russian support for the LPA and discuss political and economic links, as well as Russia’s assistance in rebuilding the Libyan army and the reopening of the Russian Embassy in Tripoli.
Russia’s ambassador to Tripoli Ivan Molotkov told Russian news agency Sputnik that it was still too early to talk about any return to Tripoli. The security situation did not permit it, the insisted.