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Haftar Says Moscow Seeking to End Libya Arms Embargo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Libya’s Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference in Amman, Jordan August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Rome- Russia will seek to end an arms embargo against Libya and could supply weapons to Khalifa Haftar, the military strongman said Tuesday.

Asked whether he was promised arms during a recent visit to Russia, Haftar said Moscow had told him weapons “can arrive only once the (U.N.) embargo ends”.

But he was assured that President Vladimir “Putin will undertake to revoke it,” he said in the interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera.

Haftar said he was open to dialogue with the Government of National Accord (GNA) head Fayez al-Sarraj in principle, but it was impossible to talk politics just now.

“We are at war, security issues take precedence. It’s not an opportune time for politics. We need to fight to save the country from Islamic extremists,” he said.

“I began talks with Sarraj two and half years ago. Without any concrete results. Once the extremists have been beaten we can start talking about democracy and elections again. But not now,” he added.

Haftar denied media reports of an upcoming meeting with Sarraj, saying the last time they had spoken directly was in January 2016.

But he admitted: “I have nothing personally against Sarraj. He is not the problem, it’s those around him.

“If he really wants to fight to make peace in the country, he should take up arms and join our ranks. He is always welcome.”