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Egypt's Sisi meets Libyan renegade general, Haftar, in Cairo Open in fullscreen

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Egypt's Sisi meets Libyan renegade general, Haftar, in Cairo

Libyans burn portraits of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a protest in Tripoli [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 14 April, 2019

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Egyptian President al-Sisi has long backed Khalifa Haftar, a former general of Muammar Gaddafi, who launched an offensive on Tripoli on April 4.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar on Sunday, whose forces have launched a bloody assault on the capital Tripoli, state media reported.

They "are discussing the latest developments in Libya" at the presidential palace in Cairo, state newspaper al-Ahram said.

Sisi has been an ardent supporter of Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Accord (LNA), which control swathes of eastern Libya and launched an offensive on 4 April to take the capital where the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) is based.

Pro-government forces have held off the LNA but Haftar's fighters are just kilometers from Tripoli city centre and have the backing of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who have bankrolled his push to capture the capital.

Riyadh has pledged to pay tens of millions of dollars for Khalifa Haftar's offensive, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

More than 8,000 people have fled heavy fighting on the outskirts of Tripoli that has left dozens dead and prompted mounting global alarm. The United Nations has warned the situation could spiral out of control.

The Libyan commander Haftar has modelled his political style of authoritarian leadership after Sisi, himself an army general turned president.

Egypt has provided funding and arms to his Libyan National Army, seeing him as a bulwark against Islamist militants.

Haftar, who was exiled in the United States for two decades, returned to Libya in 2011 when the revolution erupted, commanding forces that eventually toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Libya has been riven by divisions since the NATO-backed overthrow of Gadaffi, with various armed groups and two parallel governments vying for territory and oil wealth.

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