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Egypt's Sisi meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo

Egypt's Sisi meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo

Egypt has provided funding and arms to his Libyan National Army, seeing him as a bulwark against Islamist militants.

The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign against the government in the capital Tripoli since earlier this month, attempting to take over the city.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met Sunday with Libyan commander Halifa Haftar, whose forces are fighting for control of the capital Tripoli, state media reported.

A statement from Sisi's office following the pair's meeting did not mention Haftar's offensive directly but "confirmed Egypt's support for efforts to combat terrorism and extremist groups and militias in order to achieve security and stability for the Libyan citizen".

Haftar, who was exiled in the United States for two decades, returned to Libya in 2011 when the revolution erupted, commanding forces that eventually toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

The presidency released photos showing Haftar, dressed in a blue suit, sitting with Sisi and his head of intelligence Abbas Kamel.

Haftar backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that refuses to recognise the UN-backed unity government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

"Our position will not change", United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame tweeted. "You've learned and tasted war".

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As well as thwarting the United Nations plan, the flare-up threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration to Europe, let Islamist militants exploit the chaos, and worsen Libyans' suffering.

The fighting killed and injured hundreds of people, and forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

The front lines were mostly calm on Sunday morning but military sources said in the afternoon that an eastern Libyan warplane crashed in southern Tripoli.

No other details were immediately available.

Egypt has in the past blamed Libyan-based militants for a series of cross-border attacks against its security forces and minority Christians traveling to remote desert monasteries.

It is not clear whether Gen Haftar's surprise march on Tripoli was launched with the prior knowledge or the approval of the Egyptians.

The "life goes on" attitude of some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Tripoli may soon be in peril with the further escalation of clashes between factions in Libya, following reports that foreign governments will soon be sending support for military strongman Khalifa Haftar.