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Libya’s Haftar arrives in Cairo in an unexpected visit

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi meets with Commander of the Libyan national army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in Cairo, Egypt, on 13 May 2017 [Egyptian President Office/Apaimages]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi meets with Commander of the Libyan national army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in Cairo, Egypt, on 13 May 2017 [Egyptian President Office/Apaimages]

Libya’s eastern-based commander Khalifa Hafter arrived in Cairo yesterday in an unexpected visit, the first since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi appointed Mohamed Farid Hegazy as chief of staff.

A security source at Cairo Airport told the Anadolu Agency that Haftar arrived in Cairo on board a private jet to meet with Egyptian officials and discuss recent developments in Libya.

The Libyan commander was received at the airport by Egyptian officials.

The visit comes two days after the east Libyan city of Derna was raided in an airstrike by an unknown attacker, resulting in the death of 17 persons and the injury of 20 others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Read: Egypt to restructure Libya’s army under Haftar’s command

However, in a statement, Haftar denied his forces’ connection to the attack, which was condemned by the Egyptian foreign ministry.

In the past months, a series of meetings have been held in Cairo between prominent Libyan figures – politicians, parliamentarians, and media and social figures in an effort to address the Libyan factions’ commitment to the Skhirat Agreement, which was signed by Libyan groups in late 2015.

Libya has witnessed a political stalemate with three rival entities competing for power in the country. Haftar heads one in Benghazi, the UN-backed Government of National Accord  headed by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj operates in Tripoli, and Abdullah Al-Thinni chairs the Tobruk-based government.

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