President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received Sunday Libya’s National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar in Cairo and tackled recent developments in Libya, according to Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady.
Rady added that Sisi met with LNA’s Haftar at Ettahadiya Palace, eastern Cairo.
On 4 April, the military strongman ordered his Libyan National Army (LNA) to advance to the capital, Tripoli, where the internationally recognized government is based.
The LNA said its aim is to restore security and fight armed gangs and “terrorism”.
That movement came months after the LNA had made advances elsewhere in Libya, a situation likely to have spurred Haftar on to seek military control of the whole country.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) vowed to defend Tripoli, accusing Haftar of launching a coup.
It’s noteworthy that Haftar is popular in the city of Benghazi for his role in driving out Islamists.
The military move by Haftar comes amidst UN-led plans for talks to help facilitate the delayed general elections which were to be held last year.
In Nov., 2018, Sisi met with Haftar during the mini-summit on security in the attendance of Sarraj and Italian Prime Minister Giseppe Conte during the Palermo conference.
The Palermo conference was attended by key political Libyan factions and other international partners in order to draft a plan to deal with the political crisis in Libya.
Haftar only attended the mini-summit with the leaders but did not attend the conference.
The Italian news agency Aki reported that “Egypt’s Sisi exerted strong efforts with Haftar to convince him to attend the mini-summit, away from the conference programme.”
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi Meets with Libya’s National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar in Cairo on April 14, 2019- Press Photo