Apr 19 2019

Trump discusses "counterterrorism" with Haftar - White House

The White House said on Friday that the U.S. president spoke by phone on Monday with Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and discussed the current "counterterrorism efforts" and the necessity for reaching peace in Libya.

The statement said U.S. President Donald Trump “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.”

The White House announcement coming four days after the phone call was highly discussed on social media.

On Thursday, both Washington and Moscow said they could not support a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya. Russia objects to the resolution blaming Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence on the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, while the United States did not give a reason for its decision not to support it.

Also, Turkish Foreign Minister and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Thursday spoke by phone reaffirming their determination to aid Libyan conflict, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Both ministers raised "concern over a serious escalation of the situation due to unceasing clashes between various armed groups in Tripoli that have led to numerous casualties," according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Libya has been gripped by turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. The country now has two executive authorities; particularly Tripoli's government of National Accord recognised by the international community, and the interim government that operates in the country’s east along with the elected parliament and is supported by the Libyan National Army, led by Haftar.

The U.N. Support Mission in Libya has long tried to merge these two rival governments and formed a Government of National Accord, which is also headquartered in Tripoli. However, the Libyan General Haftar launched a military campaign on April 4 to seize the embattled capital Tripoli.

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