Saudi FM discusses Libya with Algerian, Tunisian leaders
Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat visited Algeria and Tunisia on Tuesday, the second day of a North African tour to discuss the conflict in neighbouring Libya.
The kingdom backs eastern Libya-based strongman Khalifa Haftar, who launched a months-long campaign to seize the capital Tripoli from the unity government in early 2019.
Haftar is also backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, while Turkey has sent military support to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord that was crucial in turning the tide against Haftar earlier this year.
On Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met Algeria’s president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who has vowed to remain neutral in the conflict.
The Saudi diplomat told Tebboune that the kingdom would “coordinate with Algeria to reach a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis”.
He also underlined the “central role of neighbouring countries” in resolving the conflict and battling “terrorism and foreign interference” in Libya, according to a statement published by Algerian state news agency APS.
In Tunisia, he met president Kais Saied and praised “the converging views between Tunisia and Saudi Arabia on the challenges facing the region”.
Libya plunged into violence in 2011 with the NATO-backed uprising that overthrew then killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
It has been plagued by persistent conflict ever since, with rival administrations backed by a plethora of armed groups and foreign powers.
Prince Faisal’s visits came a day after he met his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, which has mooted the possibility of sending troops to Libya in support of Haftar.
Speaking after the meeting, the Saudi diplomat said he had voiced the kingdom’s “full support for the Egyptian stance” in Libya and called for “peaceful political talks and a ceasefire”.