Tunisian leader meets with Libya’s new government in Tripoli


CAIRO — Tunisia’s president met Wednesday with Libya’s newly appointed government officials in Tripoli, becoming the first head of state to visit the war-torn country a day after an interim administration took power.

President Kais Saied landed in the capital’s Mitiga International Airport and was received by Mohammad Younes Menfi, head of Libya’s Presidential Council. They then headed for talks, according to Menfi’s office. The Tunisian leader also met with Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

Saied’s office said the talks focused on the economy and trade between the two nations, along with Tunisia’s support for a democratic path in Libya. It did not elaborate.

The visit, the first for a Tunisian leader since 2012, came a day after Libya’s interim government took power in Tripoli, officially beginning a tenure designed to end with democratic elections late this year in the oil-rich country.

In November, Tunisia hosted talks of the U.N.-picked Libyan political forum, which eventually produced a roadmap that appointed the interim government to lead Libya through presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24.

That interim government includes a three-member presidential council headed by Menfi and a Cabinet headed by Dbeibah. The Menfi-Dbeibah government replaced rival east- and west-based administrations, each of which enjoyed the backing of armed groups and foreign governments.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.

The appointment of an interim government revived hopes of stability in oil-rich Libya, which has become a safe haven for militant groups threatening its neighbors, including Tunisia.

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