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US’ Pompeo, Egypt FM urge calm in Libya amid Tripoli offensive

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Fighters loyal to Haftar reportedly advancing on a road south of the capital Tripoli. (AF
The United States and Egypt, a key backer of Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, have called for calm as the strongman pressed ahead in his offensive on Tripoli.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the crisis in Libya during a phone call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the State Department said.

The two discussed “the urgent need to achieve a political solution in Libya and prevent further escalation,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

Haftar is pressing ahead against the internationally backed government in Tripoli in fighting that has left 510 dead and driven more than 75,000 people from their homes, according to World Health Organization figures.

Haftar on a visit last week to France rejected a cease-fire urged by President Emmanuel Macron.

In an interview with the Journal de Dimanche newspaper, Haftar said he would continue the operation until “private militias and extremist groups,” who he alleged were gaining influence under Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj laid down their weapons.
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