By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 19 December 2015:
Tripoli government prime minister Khalifa Ghwell has travelled to Moscow taking with him some of . . .[restrict]the crew of the Russian tanker detained since September.
Ghwell and his party which included his new foreign minister Ali Zbuzakuk were greeted by Russian parliamentarian Adam Delimkhanov who later accompanied the Libyan delegation to a meeting with the Kremlin’s deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
Arabic-speaking Bogdanov is also President Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East and Africa.
The discussions reportedly covered the Libyan Political Accord which has thus far not been endorsed by the General National Congress which appointed Ghwell’s administration. Russia, in supporting the UN-backed new Government of National Accord being formed by Faiez Serraj, no longer officially recognises the Thinni government in Beida. It has at no point recognised the Ghwell government either. It has however, through Delimkhanov, a cousin of Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechen republic, maintained low-level links with Tripoli. Delimkhanov, a members of president Putin’s United Russia Party, hosted a trip this October to Chechnya where Ghwell met Kadyrov. The present meeting is thought to have been organised by Delimkhanov.
Ghwell’s Moscow visit and his handing back of the arrested Russian sailors, whose situation is as having been used as a means to engineer talks with the Kremlin, was not widely reported in Russia. There is also confusion about the number of Russians who were returned. Sources in Tripoli said that five of the remaining crew of the Mekhanik Chebotarev, which was seized by the Libya coastguard for suspected fuel smuggling to Malta, were taken to Moscow. However two days ago, Russian news agency RIA Novosti said that seven crew members had been freed while the captain and two officers would stand trial in Libya. [/restrict]