August 19, 2019 / 7:04 PM / 6 months ago

Pompeo, in call with Egypt's Shoukry, urges political solution in Libya

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to the media after his meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday expressed American concerns over the prolonged conflict in Libya in a phone call with his Egyptian counterpart, and they agreed on the need for a political solution, the State Department said.

Pompeo also discussed with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry cooperation to tackle the Islamic State and al-Qaeda militant groups, the department said in a statement.

“The Secretary and the Foreign Minister shared concern over prolonged violence and instability in Libya, and agreed on the need to achieve a political solution to the conflict,” it said.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said the two also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as crises in Syria and Yemen. On the Palestinian crisis, Shoukry “stressed the need to reach a comprehensive solution.”

Egypt, along with the United Arab Emirates, is a supporter of Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, whose Libya National Army (LNA) has been trying to take Tripoli from forces allied with the internationally recognised government.

Turkey recently shipped arms to Tripoli to stop Haftar’s assault, according to diplomats.

The United Nations envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, last month called for a truce in the North African country and warned that an influx of weapons from foreign supporters, in violation of an arms embargo, was fuelling the conflict.

The country has been riven by violence since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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