(dpa) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will fly to Tripoli for talks with Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi on April 16-17, the Kremlin said on Monday.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted during a visit in December that Russia could write off Libya's estimated 3.5-billion-dollar debt to Moscow.
The concession is said to be part of Moscow's vigorous negotiations to be an actor in Libya's highly promising oil sector and revive lucrative Soviet-era arms sales to Tripoli since UN Security Council sanctions were lifted in 2004.
Putin on his visit could finalize a 2.5-billion-dollar deal for the delivery of Russian anti-aircraft missiles, a dozen fighter jets and one or two submarines, news agency Interfax quoted a defence industry source as saying on Monday.
Russian energy giant Gazprom, meanwhile, has lobbied for a share of gas exploration deals in Africa. Libya is considered the continent's fourth largest country in estimated gas reserves. The gas monopoly entered three projects in Libya in 2007.