Egyptian Army Chief-of-Staff Meets with Libya’s Haftar in Benghazi

Egyptian Army Chief-of-Staff Mahmoud Hegazy met with General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), in the Libyan port city of Benghazi.

The visit is the first of its kind for an Egyptian or Arab military official since the outbreak of armed clashes in Benghazi three years ago.

According to a statement published on the LNA’s official Facebook page, Haftar met with Hegazy at his office in Benghazi’s ​​Rajma district.

The LNA’s media office didn’t provide any details regarding the objectives of Hegazy’s visit, saying merely that he had arrived at Benghazi’s Benina Airport on Wednesday where he was received by LNA officials.

It is worth to mention that Haftar paid a visit to Egypt last Saturday, where he met with Egyptian Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, with whom he discussed recent developments in Libya and efforts to promote dialogue between the North African country’s warring factions.

During his meeting with Haftar, Al-Sisi reiterated his call for ending the UN-imposed weapons embargo on Libya.

Al-Sisi said this was needed so that the Libyan National Army (the forces affiliated with Khalifa Haftar) could fight terrorism.

After meeting General Khalifa Haftar in Cairo, Al-Sisi said in a statement that Haftar’s Libyan National Army required the weapons to fight terrorism.

Efforts should be made to stop foreign funding from flowing to terrorist groups in Libya, he added. He also claimed that militants were being aided with munitions and fighters by “external parties” seeking to interfere in Libya’s affairs.

The United Nations Security Council imposed a weapons embargo on Libya in February 2011.

Haftar is a military figure, backed by Tobruk government based in eastern Libya that refuses to recognize the U.N.-backed government, enjoys the support of several Arab nations, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, as well as western countries as France.