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Libyan Presidency council leader Sarraj and Haftar meet in Cairo for talks

February 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez Al-Sarraj [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

Libya’s Presidency Council (PC) leader, Fayez Al-Sarraj, and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar are scheduled to meet in Cairo today for joint talks on a possible settlement in the country.

The talks were initially planned for yesterday but were postponed due to disagreements on the conditions set by the two sides, according to The New Arab.

Haftar will be accompanied by Abdul Basset Al-Badri, the Libyan ambassador to Riyadh, a political adviser and close friend. Al-Sarraj will be joined by Fathi Majbri, a PC member from Cyrenaica.

Al-Sarraj’s first choice was former Prime Minister Ahmed Maetig but Haftar refused to attend the meeting if he was present.

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Both parties have been holding indirect talks through Egyptian intermediaries, including Egypt’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hejazi.

It has been reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will himself chair today’s meeting in order to place adequate pressure on Al-Sarraj and Haftar to reach an agreement.

Haftar has been under pressure from Egypt and Russia to meet Al-Sarraj and agree on a compromise that would pave the way for a political settlement in Libya. Until one month ago, such a meeting seemed unlikely because of Haftar’s refusal.

Al-Sarraj on the other hand has long indicated his willingness to negotiate directly with the Field Marshal and even consider a role for Haftar in a future Libyan government.

Egypt is keen for a settlement which would bring security on its western border and the creation of jobs for Egyptians in a stable Libya. Two million Egyptians were believed to be in Libya prior to 2014.

Both parties are expected to be in Egypt for a few days where Lieutenant General Hijazi will coordinate Cairo’s mediation efforts.