The forces of Libya’s UN-backed government have taken control of the town of Tarhouna, in a highly significant advance.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced a unilateral initiative to end the civil war in neighbouring Libya.
The conference in Cairo was attended by Commander Khalifa Haftar and Aguila Saleh, speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. Several foreign diplomats, including US, Russian, French and Italian envoys attended. Haftar and Saleh are allies.
There were no representatives of the Tripoli-based administration, or of its main backers, Turkey and Qatar, at the conference.
Tarhouna was the last stronghold of the warlord Gen Khalifa Haftar in the west of the country.
[june 1 2020]
The next big battle could be for Tarhuna, a town that lies around 90km (55 miles) south-east of the capital.
It is Gen Haftar’s western stronghold, controlled by a militia known as al-Qaniyat, mainly made up of men previously loyal to the Gaddafi regime.
Troops loyal to the Tripoli government, former opponents of Gaddafi, are advancing on Tarhuna.
The fight against the old regime is still a factor in Libya’s never-ending war.
Gen Haftar’s most important backers are Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Turkey is the key ally of the Sarraj government in Tripoli.
The US has sent a variety of signals out about Libya under President Donald Trump, offering encouragement at different times to Mr Sarraj and Gen Haftar, and bombing jihadist extremists when they can find them.