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Libya’s Haftar gains as Egypt increases support

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Photo: Alwasat Libya

Photo: Alwasat Libya

Top diplomats from Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia will meet today for two days of talks on the political vacuum that has engulfed Libya since the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya is currently split into three major political bodies: the western-based General National Congress, the eastern-based House of Representatives—which is allied with strongman Khalifa Haftar, who commands the Libyan National Army militia—and the UN-backed Government of National Accord, which attempts to mediate between the two.

Egypt has emerged as an important player in Libya, supporting Mr Haftar’s secular Libyan National Army. The Egyptian air force launched strikes on Haftar’s opponents in the eastern city of Derna on May 26, while late last week Egyptian jets bombed at least 14 targets in central Libya, allowing Haftar to seize the town of al-Jufra. Reports also suggest small contingents of Egyptian forces are operating on the ground.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will likely seek to corral regional partners into supporting the eastern government during Monday’s talks.

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