Libyan PM on European tour to rally support for ongoing crisis

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Libyan PM Fayez al-Sarraj (AFP)
Libyan PM Fayez al-Sarraj (AFP)

Libya’s prime minister has begun a short visit to Europe to seek allies in his struggle against military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Fayez Sarraj on Tuesday traveled to Italy, the former colonial power, where he met with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

After the meeting with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, he will travel to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He is then expected to meet the French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he has criticized for supporting his rival, Gen Khalifa Haftar, on Wednesday.

Ahead of Sarraj’s tour, Haftar urged his troops to “wipe out the enemy”, in a message read out by LNA spokesman General Ahmad al-Mesmari late Sunday.

“Officers and soldiers of our armed forces and affiliates, I greet you during these glorious days and call on you to inflict on the enemy, with your force and determination, an even harder and bigger lesson than before,” the message said.

Haftar’s remarks came just hours after the United Nations mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for “an extendable one-week humanitarian truce” starting at 4:00 am (0200 GMT) Monday, to mark the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Sarraj hopes to “gather support against the aggression” by Haftar, the GNA foreign ministry in Tripoli said.

According to the UN, fighting between the LNA and forces backing the GNA has killed at least 432 people, wounded 2,069 and displaced some 55,000 others since April 4th.

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