Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday met in Cairo with Khalifa Haftar, the commander of eastern-based Libyan forces, the Libyan National Army (LNA), who are currently advancing on the Libyan capital Tripoli.
The meeting was also attended by the Egyptian head of intelligence Abbas Kamel.
Egypt, who has close ties with Haftar, and the United Arab Emirates publicly support U.N.-led peace efforts in Libya, while being seen as Haftar’s closest regional allies. Sisi, a former army chief, has led a far-reaching crackdown on Islamists with Egypt and has blamed Libya-based militants for some cross-border attacks.
A statement from Sisi’s office did not mention Haftar’s offensive directly but “confirmed Egypt’s support for efforts to combat terrorism and extremist groups and militias in order to achieve security and stability for the Libyan citizen”.
Sunday was the day the United Nations had hoped to hold a national conference in the south-western town of Ghadames.
“Our position will not change,” U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame tweeted. “You’ve learned and tasted war. No matter how obstinate one becomes, there is no solution except a political one.”
كان اليوم يوم ملتقاكم في غدامس تخطون فيه معا معالم سبيل نحو دولة موحدة، قادرة، منصفة، مدنية، ديمقراطية.لكن الرياح راحت في مناح أخرى لم تكن السفن تشتهيها ولطخ الدم المسيرة. موقفنا لن يتبدل فإنما الحرب ما علمتم وذقتكم ولا حل، مهما اشتد العناد، الا سياسي.
— Ghassan Salame (@GhassanSalame) April 14, 2019
The fighting has killed 121 people, mainly fighters, and wounded another 561, according to U.N. tallies. Some 13,600 people have fled their homes.
Fighting in recent days has been taking place on the outskirts of Tripoli as LNA forces have been bogged down by groups aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA).
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 further details were available.