ROME – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met with Russian President Vladimir Putin behind the scenes of the New Silk Road Forum in China and proposed that they work together to resolve the crisis in Libya, local media reported on Saturday.
The conversation between the two leaders was “intensive,” Italian news agency ANSA reported. Conte would have transmitted to Putin his views on the current situation in the North African country and asked the Russian president for help in order to work together for a solution.
Tensions mounted in Libya in early April after Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to retake the capital, Tripoli, from forces loyal to the UN-backed government of the National Accord (GNA).
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has already captured several areas en route to the capital, including Tripoli International Airport. Forces loyal to the GNA announced a counter-offensive to repel the LNA.
Meanwhile, the number of displaced people who fled the clashes in Tripoli reached 3,400, said the UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Office (OCHA) spokesman, Russell Geekie, last week.
On Wednesday, Khairi Tamimi, head of the LNA’s General Commander’s Office, said that the government in eastern Libya was eager to expand defense cooperation with Russia once the international embargo was suspended.
Meanwhile, the LNA reported that they had been able to shoot down an airplane from the opposing side that supposedly took off from an airbase in Misrata.
As reported by the portal Russkoe Oruzhie, the plane was later identified as a light fighter Mirage F.1 of French production, and photos of the wreck of this aircraft appeared on social media networks. After a careful study of the identification marks of the plane knocked down, it came to an unexpected result, it turned out to be a Mirage F.1AD.
Two nights ago, a Mirage F.1 crashed near Al-Watiya Air Base. #LNA claimed that it has shot it down & that was the last airworthy #GNA‘s Mirage F.1ED. But it turned out that is #Libya National Air Force’s Mirage F.1AD! If they shot-it down, then they downed their own airplane! pic.twitter.com/rf0ZyBI45F
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) April 25, 2019
The Libyan National Army Air Force had two such aircraft in service. After these unexpected discoveries were made public, Haftar sources stopped making any mention of the incident.