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Libya seeks arms deals, closer energy ties with Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on August 3, 2008

Libya’s prime minister told his Russian counterpart on Thursday that his country plans to buy more Russian arms, and wants to step up cooperation in nuclear power as well as and oil and gas production.

Vladimir Putin said after hosting talks with Libya’s al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi: “We are committed to continuing cooperation in the military-technical sphere, among others, especially since the Libyan leadership has confirmed its interest in buying quality products from the Russian defense industry.”

The Libyan premier said the sides had agreed on specific forms of bilateral cooperation aimed at “strengthening the Libyan Armed Forces.”

The premiers discussed Libya’s plans to build a nuclear power plant and linked desalination facility, as well as Russian investment in the North African state’s oil and gas sector.

Al-Mahmoudi said the Libyan National Oil Corporation enjoys a “special relationship” with Russian energy giant Gazprom, and that the sides are engaged in active consultations.

He invited Putin to visit Libya in August to attend the launch of a $2.2 billion railway construction project.

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