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Tunisia Welcomes Haftar, Seeks to Revive Comprehensive Solution Initiative | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A photo released by the Tunisian Presidency Press Service shows Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (R) meeting with Libyan General Khalifa Haftar on September 18, 2017 at Carthage Palace in Tunis (AFP Photo/HO)

Tunis – The Commander of the Libyan Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, arrived on Monday in Tunis upon the invitation of President Beji Caid Essebsi, within a Tunisian attempt to revive its initiative of a comprehensive solution to the Libyan crisis.

Haftar’s first official visit to Tunisia follows his participation in the meeting of the African Union (AU) High-Level Committee on Libya, in Brazzaville, Congo.

It also comes in the wake of regional and international attempts to solve the Libyan crisis, amid competition over a share of reconstruction plans that stimulate the appetite of several countries and to stop illegal immigration to a number of northern Mediterranean states.

A statement by the Tunisian presidential office said that Essebsi and Haftar discussed “the principles and objectives of the initiative launched by Tunisia, with the engagement of Algeria and Egypt, and which was welcomed by the various Libyan parties and supported by international forces.”

The Tunisian president stressed that the solution to the crisis “remains in the hands of the Libyan people”, explaining that the role of Tunisia and neighboring countries was limited to facilitating dialogue between the different Libyan components within the framework of cooperation and coordination with the United Nations.

According to the Tunisian presidency, Haftar underlined the importance of Tunisia’s support to the Libyan people, especially in their efforts to fight terrorism.

In remarks following the meeting, Haftar vowed to “eradicate terrorism”.

“We have heard a good word from the president and our vision is consistent with his vision,” he said.

“We talked about the situation in our country, which is being subjected to a serious attack by terrorists; but we have a strong army that has confronted these groups and we believe that the story of terrorism in Libya will end soon,” he added.

According to well-informed Tunisian sources, the two officials also discussed the possibility of holding a meeting between Haftar and the head of the national reconciliation government, Fayez al-Sarraj in Tunisia, “in support of UN efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis.”

Haftar met on Monday with the US Ambassador to Libya, Peter Bodde, who is temporarily residing in Tunisia, before heading to the Carthage Palace to meet with Essebsi.

Next Tuesday, the Tunisian capital is set to host meetings between the parties to the Libyan dialogue to discuss a formula to amend the Skhirat political agreement, which was signed by the end of 2015.