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The New Arab

'Libya's Haftar met with senior US official in UAE'

General Khalifa Haftar visited the United Arab Emirates on Monday [AFP]

Date of publication: 12 April, 2017

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Libya's General Khalifa Haftar met with a senior US military official during a visit to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, a source revealed to The New Arab.

A senior US military official met with Libyan Colonel Khalifa Haftar in Abu Dhabi on Monday, during the controversial general's visit to the United Arab Emirates, Libyan sources revealed to The New Arab.

Abu Dhabi has long sought to present Major General Haftar as the leader of the 'war on terror in Libya' to the new Trump administration, the source suggested.

Haftar, who is in control of east Libya, allegedly expressed his plans "eliminate terrorism, especially the Islamic State group in Libya," the source said.

The unidentified US official allegedly stressed support for any efforts to combat terrorism but failed to specify the official position of the Trump administration on Libya's conflict.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi - which along with Cairo has backed the military leader - demanded the lifting of an arms embargo on Libya to facilitate what it described as "the army" in the "fight against terrorism," the source said.

"Abu Dhabi's stance on Haftar is the correct choice, and one that stands in line with the goal of the international community in the war on terrorism," Emirati authorities said.

The UAE has emerged as a supporter of the Libyan general since early 2015, politically and militarily, although it welcomed the arrival of the Libyan parties to a peace agreement that led to the formation of a national unity government.

Haftar, who has been accused of betraying the Libyan 2011 revolution, was described by local Emirati media reports as "Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan Armed Forces" and the UAE's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed praised Haftar's movement for its alleged "role in reducing the terrorist threat and creating the political environment required to reach a solution that includes all Libyans under a unified state."

Haftar's forces have been engaged in a prolonged war with Islamist fighters in Benghazi and other areas of east Libya over the last two-year period.

The general has been fighting against the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, which he has referred to as a "terrorist group", drawing resources from the UAE in his fight.

 

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