Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Libya's Khalifa Haftar meets Saudi leaders ahead of Arab summit

UN announced this week conference to discuss elections in Libya

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar in Riyadh. Reuters
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar in Riyadh. Reuters

Libya's Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ahead of the annual Arab League summit on Sunday.

The Saudi leaders, along with the country's interior and foreign ministers, discussed on Wednesday Libya's latest developments, including its security and stability, the Saudi Press Agency said.

Libya has been wracked by internal conflict since the Nato-backed uprising which led to the ousting and killing of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Field Marshall Haftar's Libyan National Army backs a government in the the east of the country. His government rejects a rival UN-backed government led by Fayez Al Sarraj based in the capital, Tripoli.

King Salman will head to Tunis for the annual Arab League summit on Sunday. Libya is expected to be a top priority on the summit agenda.

The United Nations announced last week that it would organise a conference of key players in April to draw up a "road map" to legislative and presidential elections in Libya.

Libya's rival leaders agreed in Paris last year to hold elections before the end of the year, but that vote never materialised as the two rival administrations and numerous militias grapple for power.

The world body has been scrambling to save almost two years of mediation to prepare the oil producer for elections and end its split into two rival administrations.

The initiative has been hit by political divisions and most recently by the prospect of a military showdown. The UN said both Mr Haftar and Mr Sarraj agreed at a meeting in Abu Dhabi to work towards organising the polls.

Trying to regain the initiative, UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame said a national conference would be held in the southwestern town of Ghadames from April 14 to 16.

"If the opportunity presented by the National Conference is not seized, then we will be faced with only two possible options: prolonged stalemate or conflict," he told the UN Security Council. "This stalemate may also ultimately lead to conflict."

Updated: March 28, 2019 05:01 PM

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