Libyan minister to discuss contracts in Moscow

The energy minister of the Libyan rebel government will visit Moscow soon to discuss Russian contracts in the country, Russian president’s special envoy to Africa said on Thursday.

“We will now discuss the fate of Russian contracts with Libyans in detail and expect the Libyan energy minister to visit Moscow,” said Mikhail Margelov, who also chairs the Federation Council’s foreign affairs committee.

He did not give the exact date of the visit, saying only that it may take place within a month.

A number of leading Russian companies had signed profitable deals with the government of Muammar Gaddafi, including Russian railway monopoly RZD’s contract to build a 550-km high-speed rail link between Sirte and Benghazi.

Russian oil companies Gazprom Neft and Tatneft also worked in Libya, while Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport had a contract to sell weapons to the country.

“From the political point of view I don’t see any grounds for Libya’s Transitional National Council to cancel contracts of Russian companies,” the Russian senator said.

Margelov said it is too early to speak about whether Libyan rebel authorities will be able to end the ongoing hostilities in the country in the near future.

“The military part of the conflict is not over yet. Gaddafi and his people fight like a cornered animal,” he said.

The Russian official also said that Gaddafi is still hiding somewhere in Libya and is unlikely to leave the country.

“I have no doubts about that. This is what I heard from all my unofficial sources in the Saharan region,” Margelov said. “He [Gaddafi] does not and will not accept any legal or illegal variants of fleeing Libya.”

“And if he made some suicidal decisions for himself, it means that the military phase of the political conflict will continue,” he continued.

According to the Russian senator, the Libyan leader keeps contact with Libyans who fled to Cairo.

Massive demonstrations against longtime leader Gaddafi broke out in Libya in mid-February. The international NATO-led military operation began on March 19 following a UN resolution on “targeted measures” to protect civilians.

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