02:54 GMT +313 December 2017
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    UK Defense Secretary Claims Russia's Policy in Libya 'Testing NATO'

    © AFP 2017/ Abdullah DOMA
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    Russia's policy in Libya, in particular maintaining contacts with Libyan Army Commander Khalifa Haftar, is aimed at testing the western countries and NATO, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said at the Munich Security Conference.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Fallon mentioned a video-conference call between Haftar and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, held last month, when the sides discussed the fight against terrorist groups. While the call was mostly symbolic, according to Fallon, Moscow was trying to find a "weak spot" of NATO.

    "Putin is testing the West, he’s testing the alliance," Fallon was quoted as saying by The Telegraph newspaper.

    "We don’t need the bear sticking his paws in," the minister said, adding that the United Kingdom and other NATO states considered sending more aid to help Libya rebuild its armed forces.

    Earlier this week, Haftar and head of the country's Government of National Accord Fayez Sarraj participated in two-days negotiations brokered by Egypt, agreeing as a result to hold both the presidential and parliamentary elections in the crisis-torn country in 2018,

    Libya has been in a state of turmoil since 2011, when a civil war began in the country and Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. In December 2015, Libya’s rival governments — the Council of Deputies based in Tobruk and the Tripoli-based General National Congress — agreed to create the GNA, to form the Presidency Council and to end the political impasse.

    The first meeting of the GNA cabinet took place on January 2, 2016 in Tunisia. Nevertheless, Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament refused to cooperate with the unity government.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    NATO, Michael Fallon, Britain, Russia, Libya
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