November 7, 2018 / 6:11 PM / 10 days ago

Libya commander Haftar visits Russia ahead of conference

MOSCOW, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Russia’s 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 powerful Libyan commander, who dominates eastern Libya. He has visited Russia before, and last year the Russian defence ministry hosted him aboard its sole 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 Nov. 12 and 13, which Haftar has said he would attend. Russia is expected to send high-level representatives to the meeting. (Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova, Editing by William Maclean)

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