Tripoli residents denounce Trump's call to Libyan commander Haftar

Khalifa Haftar Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Tripoli, Libya Apr 20, 2019, 05.56 AM (IST)

At least 2,000 people protested in Tripoli's central Martyrs' Square on Friday against eastern commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive, with some criticising US President Donald Trump's phone call to the commander.

Wearing yellow vests, protesters carried signs against the interference of foreign countries, including Egypt, France and Saudi Arabia, in Libyan affairs.

The protest came after the White House said on Friday that Trump spoke by phone to Haftar earlier in the week and discussed "ongoing counterterrorism efforts" by the leader of a military assault in opposition to the country's internationally recognised government.

A White House statement said Trump "recognised 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."

Ahmed Mismari, spokesman for Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), said Trump's call showed the pivotal role of the LNA in fighting terrorism, Sky News Arabia reported.

At least seven people had been killed as of Tuesday, a day after Trump's call to Haftar. The current death toll is not known.

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The protest came after the White House said on Friday that Trump spoke by phone to Haftar earlier in the week and discussed 'ongoing counterterrorism efforts' by the leader of a military assault in opposition to the country's internationally recognised government.