US President calls Haftar and tells him he is doing fine in fighting terrorism

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump spoke by phone with Khalifa Haftar, the White House revealed Friday, as the Libyan warlord’s forces continued to push toward the heart of Tripoli with heavy shelling in the southern parts of the Libyan capital.

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 by Haftar’s forces to seize Tripoli.

Shelling could be heard in southern parts of the Libyan capital on Friday, as on previous days, residents said. The fighting has killed 205 people, including 18 civilians, and wounded 913 since the start of the campaign, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

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