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Libyans protested with signs against the United States' interference in their country's affairs.
On Monday April 15, United States President Donald Trump spoke by telephone with Khalifa Haftar, the miltary leader who is currently leading an ongoing military assault on Tripoli on the subject of a transition to a democratic system in Libya, the White House disclosed Friday.
President 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,” the White House statement said.
Often referred to as a “failed state,” Libya has been going through a civil war since 2011, when the United States and European countries helped the rebel groups to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s government.
From 2014 and on, Libya has had two political power centers: a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, which barely controls the capital city and some Western areas; and another government in Tobruk, an eastern city which has remained under the government of Haftar, who already controls about 70 percent of the Libyan territory.
Earlier in April, the Libyan commander intensified his military offensive over Tripoli, unleashing battles which have pushed tens of thousands out of the city. According to U.N. data, over 30,000 people have been displaced in Tripoli and its surrounding areas, as reported by Ansa.
President Trump's call surprised many, since he had given a boost to the Tripoli-based government by receiving its Prime Minister Fayez Al-Serraj in December 2017.
Currently, the U.S. allies in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, support commander Haftar, who also maintains good relations with Egypt, who officially backs Tripoli.
After the White House revealed Trump's phone call, at least 2,000 people protested at Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli Friday against Haftars' offensive and the U.S. involvement in their affairs.
“The call has no meaning but we will respond to it,” said Abdelrizaq Musheirib, a protester.
Meanwhile, Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian were working together in Rome to find a solution to the chaotic situation.
"It is not possible to do anything in Libya without a solid Franco-Italian agreement and there is no way out of the crisis that isn't political," Le Drian said, adding that the Libyan civil war could become “very dangerous, so it's necessary to stop it.”