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

15 April, 2019, 04:54 | Author: Wade Massey

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates publicly support U.N. -led peace efforts in Libya, while being seen as Haftar's closest regional allies.

The current violence pits Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army, which backs a rival government in the east of the country, against an array of militias that support the Tripoli administration.

Coinciding with the Sisi-Haftar meeting in the Egyptian capital, the UN's envoy to Libya said on Sunday that the body's position on ending the country's turmoil would "not change".

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

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

Members of Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar get ready before heading out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya, April 13, 2019.

Analysts believe the campaign on Tripoli could potentially reignite large-scale fighting among the country's rival powers and undermine global efforts to reunite the fractured North African nation.

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So far, the LNA and its leadership have ignored worldwide calls to halt their battle against fighters loyal to the Government of National Accord led by Fayez Al Sarraj in Tripoli.

Both sides have been accused of targeting civilians, the Daily Sabah reported.

"The humanitarian community is concerned about rising numbers of civilian casualties, including medical personnel", OCHA Libya said. The UN-backed government in Tripoli vowed to fight back.

WHO's Libya account said on Twitter the organisation was sending medical supplies and more staff to Tripoli, and denounced "repeated attacks on health care workers, vehicles" during the fighting which erupted on April 4.

At least 15,700 people have been forced to flee their homes because of the conflict, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), with a "significant number" of others still stuck in live conflict zones.

"Our position will not change", United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame tweeted.

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.

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