Egyptian Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy, yesterday met the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, in the Libyan port city of Benghazi, the Anadolu Agency reported.
According to a statement published on the LNA’s official Facebook page, Haftar welcomed Hegazy at his office in Benghazi’s Rajma district. The visit is the first of its kind for an Egyptian or Arab military official since the start of Libya’s armed clashes, which erupted three years ago.
Hegazy was welcomed in Benghazi’s Benina Airport, where he was greeted by the LNA’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Abdel-Razek Al-Nadoori along with other army officials, according to the LNA’s media office.
The media office did not provide further details about the visit’s objectives.
Last Saturday, the Libyan commander met with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during an official visit to Cairo. The leaders discussed the recent developments in the Libyan situation as well as the efforts to promote a political dialogue between the North African country’s warring factions.
During the meeting, Al-Sisi stressed the importance of lifting the arms embargo on the Libyan army imposed by the UN. He also pointed to the necessity of stopping the financing of terrorist groups and preventing the supply of their weapons.
In February 2011, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Libya, after the bloody February 2011 uprising which led to the ouster and the death of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Since then, the country has spiraled into chaos with political divisions yielding three different seats of government and a host of rival militia groups, including the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, and the Haftar-affiliated Interim Government in Bayda.