White House says Trump spoke to Libyan commander Haftar on Monday

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump spoke by phone to Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar and discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts” by the leader of a military assault on the capital of Libya in opposition to the country’s internationally recognized government. A White House statement said Trump “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.” It was unclear why the White House waited several days to announce the phone call, which took place on Monday. Europe and the Gulf have been divided over a push to seize Tripoli by Haftar’s eastern forces. In Tripoli on Friday, shelling could be heard in southern parts of the city as in previous days, residents said. No more details were available immediately.

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