Libya's Haftar in second Cairo trip since Tripoli offensive

Cairo (AFP) –


Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar was in Cairo on Thursday for the second time since he launched a military offensive on his country's capital, the Egyptian presidency said.

Haftar has gained the ardent support of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his assault on Tripoli, where Libya's UN-recognised government sits.

During their latest meeting in Cairo, Sisi backed the role of Haftar's forces "to restore the pillars of legitimacy and create an environment conducive to reaching political solutions."

The Egyptian president also heralded Haftar's drive to push back against "extremist militias", according to a presidential statement.

Cairo has financed Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army, which holds swathes of the country's east and launched its Tripoli offensive on April 4.

More than 440 people have been killed in the fighting and thousands wounded, according to the World Health Organization.

Sisi previously held talks on April 14 with Haftar, who is also backed by the United Arab Emirates.

Thursday's meeting comes as his Libyan rival Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, continued a European tour to shore up support.

Sarraj held meetings Thursday with the British government, which stressed there was "no military solution" to the Libya crisis and pushed for a ceasefire.

The London talks followed Sarraj's visit to Rome, Berlin and Paris -- where President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his support for the Tripoli government.

France hosted talks between Libyan rivals last May and has said it views Haftar as a key player in rebuilding the country, which has been in turmoil since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.