Egypt working for Libya political solution, says FM

2017-01-21 16:01


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Cairo - Egypt is working for a political solution to fighting in neighbouring Libya, its foreign minister said on Saturday ahead of regional talks on the conflict.

"A political solution is the only way to resolve the crisis in Libya," said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

He was speaking ahead of talks with foreign ministers from Libya's neighbours - Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Niger - as well as UN envoy Martin Kobler.

Libya has been torn apart by fighting between militias, tribes and two rival governments since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Jihadist groups have exploited the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.

A UN-backed unity government based in the capital is struggling to impose its authority.

It faces competition from a rival authority supported by parliament in the country's east, which has refused to recognise the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.

Militarily, the eastern administration is backed by the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army commanded by Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar enjoys the support of several Arab countries including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, as well an emerging alliance with Russia.

GNA-aligned militias from the port city of Misrata, who led the fight to oust the Islamic State group from Sirte last year, control much of the west.

In the east, Haftar's forces have been fighting other jihadist groups for more than two years, particularly in Benghazi.

Egypt recently hosted Haftar, parliament speaker Aguila Saleh and unity government chief Fayez al-Sarraj in search of "common ground" that could help solve the crisis, Shoukry said on Saturday.

"Despite recent victories in the fight against terrorism, in Benghazi and in Sirte, terrorism will never be fully eradicated in Libya until there is a political solution," he added.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  egypt  |  north africa

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