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Libya's Haftar in Egypt as Tripoli assault continues

Haftar rules much of eastern Libya [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 May, 2019

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Khalifa Haftar has made a second visit to Egypt, a key ally of the Libyan militia leader.

Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar visited Cairo on Thursday, the second time he has been in the Egyptian capital since launching an offensive on Tripoli.

Egypt has been a key ally of Haftar, providing air strikes to the warlord before and after his offensive was launced last month on the Libyan capital, which is held by the UN-recognised government.  

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been a key backer of Haftar with the two leaders meeting to discuss the situation in Libya twice since the assault on Tripoli began.

He described the militia leader as a force for "legitimacy".

The presidential statement also noted that Sisi praised Haftar's drive to push back against "extremist militias".

Cairo has helped finance Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army, which holds large parts of the country's east and attempted to capture Tripoli with an assault launched 4 April.

More than 440 people have been killed in the fighting and thousands wounded, according to the World Health Organisation.

Sisi previously held talks with Haftar on 14 April.

Thursday's meeting comes as his Libyan rival Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, continued a European tour to shore up support.

Egypt and the UAE have been key allIes of Haftar before and after his offensive on the Libyan capital, which is held by the UN-recognised government. 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been a key backer of Haftar with the two leaders meeting to discuss the situation in Libya describing the militia leader as a force for "legitimacy".

The presidential statement also noted that Sisi praised Haftar's drive to push back against "extremist militias".

Cairo has helped finance Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army, which holds large parts of the country's east and attempted to capture Tripoli with an assault launched 4 April.

More than 440 people have been killed in the fighting and thousands wounded, according to the World Health Organisation.

Sisi previously held talks with Haftar on 14 April.

Thursday's meeting comes as his Libyan rival Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, continued a European tour to shore up support.

Sarraj held meetings with the UK government in London on Thursday, which stressed there was "no military solution" to the Libya crisis and pushed for a ceasefire.

The London talks followed Sarraj's visit to Rome, Berlin and Paris - where President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his support for the Tripoli government.

France hosted talks between the political rivals last May and has said it views Haftar as a key player in rebuilding the country.

Libya has seen fighting between rival factions soon after the 2011 ouster of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

 

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