Egypt working for Libya political solution, says FM

By Saudi Gazette, Jan 22, 2017

Cairo — Egypt is working for a political solution to fighting in neighboring Libya, its foreign minister said 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 neighbors — 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 Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Militant 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 recognize 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.

GNA-aligned militias from the port city of Misrata, who led the fight to oust the Daesh 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 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. — AFP

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