Libya's rivals fail to meet in Cairo to discuss settlement

By The Canadian Press
February 14, 2017 - 5:45am

CAIRO — Two leading Libyan rivals — the head of the U.N.-brokered government and the country's most powerful army commander — failed to meet as planned in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss a political settlement for the war-torn nation.

A spokesman for the unity government had earlier said that Fayez Serraj's planned meeting with Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter could lead to a "180-degree turn."

The spokesman, Ashraf al-Tulty, said he hoped the Egyptian government will help bridge the gap. Egypt strongly supports Hifter.

Serraj's government has failed over the past year in unifying Libya, which slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Hifter is allied with the Libyan parliament, which meets in the east of the country and has rejected the U.N.-backed government, in part because of a dispute over his future role in Libya.

Tarek al-Jaroushi, a member of the national security and defence committee in the east-based House of Representatives, said the army commander refused to meet Serraj, adding that the parliament and Hifter had very clear preconditions.

He said they want it made clear that the presidency council — which Serraj heads — will change, and that it will amend a U.N.-brokered deal that saw it maintaining command of the armed forces under its mandate.

The Associated Press

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