Trump-Haftar phone call suggests shift in US Libya policy
The White House on Friday revealed US President Donald Trump had earlier this week spoken on the phone to Khalifa Haftar, the rogue Libyan general whose paramilitary forces have carried out a bloody assault on the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
The White House statement said Trump and Haftar discussed "ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya".
The statement also acknowledged Haftar's "significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources", and Trump and Haftar's "shared vision for Libya's transition to a stable, democratic political system".
The phone call is understood to have taken place on Tuesday, but news of it was only published on Friday.
Trump's call marks a significant departure from the previous United States position on Libya, which was supportive of the internationally recognised government of Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.
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CIA-linked rogue general-turned-warlord?
Sarraj has called for Haftar to be indicted by the International Criminal Court after Haftar's forces killed 205 people in their assault on Tripoli.
Sarraj has also condemned the international community's "silence" over Haftar's assault.
On Friday, however, The New Arab's correspondent in Tripoli reported significant advances by forces loyal to Sarraj's government against Haftar's troops south of the Libyan capital.
The UK has tabled a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Tripoli - but the United States and Russia, which also backs Haftar, have both opposed it.