Published: Sun, April 14, 2019

Egypt's president meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo

Egypt's president meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the new chairman of the African Union, at the 32nd African Union Summit, in Addis Ababa, February 10, 2019.

Haftar's forces have been conducting a military offensive to take control of the capital, Tripoli, since early April.

His move is the latest in a cycle of conflict and anarchy since the 2011 toppling of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Haftar, who casts himself as a foe of "extremism" but is viewed by opponents as a new authoritarian leader in the mould of Gaddafi, has vowed to continue his offensive until Libya is "cleansed" of "terrorism".

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

Images released by the palace showed a seated Mr Sisi flanked by Gen Haftar and the head of Egypt's intelligence Abbas Kamel in the reception hall of the presidential palace in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis.

On Saturday, the Tripoli-based Interior Minister of the Presidential Council's government Fathi Bashagha accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of reportedly sending Haftar military support in "clear violation of the worldwide law".

United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame said a school was bombed in the town of Ain Zara, around 15 kilometres southeast of Tripoli, without saying who was responsible.


As well as thwarting the United Nations plan, the flare-up threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration to Europe, let Islamist militants exploit the chaos, and worsen Libyans' suffering.

At least 121 people have died in clashes between rival militias fighting for control of Libya's capital, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday.

The fighting killed and injured hundreds of people, and forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

Haftar has defied global calls to halt his battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

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.

Pro-government forces said they were "searching for the pilot", he added. No further details were available.

His lightning drive appears to have united diverse factions in western Libya in the defense of Tripoli.

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