Egypt's Sissi meets Libyan strongman Haftar in Cairo

14 April, 2019, 23:41 | Author: Myra Gill
  • The battle around Tripoli has killed 75 people including 17 civilians according to the UN

Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seen during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 11, 2019.

Haftar's forces, which control swathes of the country's east, launched an offensive earlier this month to take the Libyan capital, defying worldwide calls to halt their battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

Since the ouster and killing of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libyan factions have been engaged in a civil war that escalated in 2014, resulting in splitting power between two rival governments in the northwestern city of Tripoli and the northeastern city of Tobruk respectively.

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

In a brief statement, Egypt's presidential palace said that during the talks Mr Sisi emphasised Egypt's support for "combating terrorism and extremist groups and militias to restore peace and stability for Libyan citizens across their country".

The presidency released photos showing Haftar, dressed in a blue suit, sitting with Sisi and his head of intelligence Abbas Kamel.

Egypt has in the past blamed Libyan-based militants for a series of cross-border attacks against its security forces and minority Christians traveling to remote desert monasteries.

His campaign has disrupted efforts by the United Nations to bring rival eastern and western administrations to the negotiating table to plan an election and end the turmoil.

The UN said on Sunday that a school was bombed in Ain Zara southwest of Tripoli, without saying who was responsible. "You've learned and tasted war".

The World Health Organization said 121 people have been killed in the fighting and another 561 have been wounded. Some 13,600 people have fled their homes.

LNA forces have captured most of eastern Syria from Islamist groups and launched an offensive on Tripoli, which is held by a number of militias and the base of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj's UN-backed government.

The front lines were mostly calm on Sunday morning but military sources said in the afternoon that an eastern Libyan warplane crashed in southern Tripoli.

No other details were immediately available.

Pro-government forces said they were "searching for the pilot", he added.



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