Moscow invited new Libyan govt. to discuss energy

Russia’s foreign minister said on Saturday that Moscow had invited new Libyan authorities to discuss the future of energy projects signed under fugitive leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Before the conflict broke out in Libya, Russian energy giant Gazprom sealed a deal with Italian energy concern Eni to acquire 33 percent of Eni’s shares in Libya’s Elephant oil and gas field project worth 113 million euros. The deal has remained in the air as it needs the approval from the Libyan side.

Sergei Lavrov said the initiative to discuss the fate of Russia’s energy plans in Libya had come from representatives of Libya’s new National Transitional Council (NTC).

“They have proposed a discussion. We invited some [Libyan] officials to Moscow at their request,” Lavrov said during a summit of leaders of the former Soviet republics in Tajikistan.

Russia, which did not hurry to recognize the legitimacy of the new Libyan government until recently, had established ties with 40-year leader Gaddafi, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

The fate of the Russian-Italian energy deal in Libya is unclear as Western countries have also expressed interest in the Elephant project.

The new Libyan government has already signalled that NATO countries, which supported the NTC during the six months of armed confrontation with Gaddafi, would have the priority in energy projects in the oil-rich country.

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