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    In this March 18, 2015 file photo, Gen. Khalifa Haftar speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in al-Marj, Libya.

    Saudi King Meets With Head of Libyan National Army Haftar - Reports

    © AP Photo / Mohammed El-Sheikhy
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    CAIRO/MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Wednesday received Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army, to discuss the situation in Libya, Saudi state-run media reported.

    "During the meeting, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques [the royal style used by the Saudi King] reaffirmed the kingdom’s interest in the security and stability of Libya", the office of the Saudi monarch said, as quoted by the SPA news agency.

    Libya has been in a state of political and economic turmoil since 2011, when a civil war broke out following the overthrow of its longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi. The eastern part of the crisis-torn state is governed by its parliament, with headquarters in the city of Tobruk. The parliament is backed by the Libyan National Army headed by Haftar. At the same time, the GNA, headed by Fayez Sarraj, operates in the country's west and is headquartered in Tripoli.

    READ MORE: African Union Mulls Organizing Elections in Libya in October — Communique

    The United Nations attempted to organize nation-wide presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya last December, however, the vote was later postponed until the spring of 2019.

    However, Fayez Sarraj, the head of Libya's GNA backed by the United Nations, and Gen. Khalifa Haftar, agreed on the need to unify state institutions and hold nation-wide presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of this year, Sarraj's media adviser Hassan Houni told Sputnik earlier in March.

    Hassan Huni has also told Sputnik that the GNA hopes that the country's national reconciliation conference, which is scheduled to take place in mid-April, will result in the consolidation of the armed forces and banking structures in the country.

    READ MORE: UN Libya Envoy Says Failure to Hold Peace Conference Will Fuel Military Conflict

    UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ghassan Salame has said that the national reconciliation conference would be held on 14-16 April in the Libyan town of Gadamis.

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    Tags:
    reconciliation, meeting, security, Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Khalifa Haftar, Saudi Arabia, Libya
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