Russia invites Libyan rebels to discuss projects

September 4th, 2011 - 3:33 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Sep 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia has invited officials of Libya’s rebel-led National Transitional Council, the country’s new authorities, to discuss the future of energy projects signed under former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Before the conflict broke out in Libya, Russian energy giant Gazprom sealed a deal with Italian energy concern Eni to acquire 33 percent of Eni’s shares in Libya’s Elephant oil and gas field project worth 113 million euros. The deal has remained unclear as it needs the approval from the Libyan side.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday the initiative to discuss the fate of Russia’s energy plans in Libya had come from representatives of the NTC.

“They have proposed a discussion. We invited some (Libyan) officials to Moscow at their request,” Lavrov said during a summit of leaders of the former Soviet republics in Tajikistan.

Russia, which did not hurry to recognise the legitimacy of the new Libyan government until recently, had established ties with Gaddafi, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

The fate of the Russian-Italian energy deal in Libya is unclear as Western countries have also expressed interest in the Elephant project.

The new Libyan government has already signalled that NATO countries, which supported the NTC during the six months of armed confrontation with Gaddafi, would have the priority in energy projects in the oil-rich country.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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