Young Journalists Club | Latest news of Iran and world

News ID: 39718
Publish Date: 15:58 - 22 May 2019
TEHRAN, May 22 - Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter was in Paris Wednesday for meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron amid growing international concern about his weeks-long offensive to take Libya's capital, Tripoli.

Libya's Hifter meets French leader Macron amid fightingTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The closed-door meeting comes two weeks after Macron hosted Libya's struggling U.N.-backed prime minister, who has denounced Hifter's offensive as an attempted coup.

Macron's office has expressed support for Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj but hasn't openly addressed claims that France is secretly backing Hifter.

The fighting over Tripoli erupted on April 4, with the self-styled Libyan National Army led by Hifter and aligned with a rival government in eastern Libya, launching a push on the country's capital, located in the west, and militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported government in Tripoli.

The death toll from the fighting stood at 510 on Sunday, according to the World Health Organization, mainly combatants but also including civilians. Tens of thousands have been displaced or trapped by Hifter's offensive.

The U.N. envoy for Libya warned on Tuesday that the oil-rich nation was "on the verge of descending into a civil war" that could imperil its neighbors. Ghassan Salame told the Security Council that extremists from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida are already exploiting the security vacuum.

Libya has been split between rival authorities in east and west since 2014, with each side backed by various militias. Hifter's forces have battled extremists and other rival factions across eastern Libya, and recently made inroads in the south.

Source: AP

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