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Britain’s Johnson in east Libya to back peace drive

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson held talks Friday with the head of Libya’s parliament, a day after visiting Tripoli to back peace efforts in the troubled north African nation.

The Foreign Office said Johnson, who met parliament speaker Aguila Salah in the remote eastern city of Tobruk, stressed “the importance of working… to break the political deadlock”.

The oil-rich country has endured varying degrees of chaos and lawlessness since the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, and its rival administrations have struggled to assert nationwide influence.

Libya’s elected parliament, which fled Tripoli in 2014 after advances by Islamist-backed militias, has so far resisted international efforts to voice support for a UN-backed unity government in the capital.

It is allied with military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who also does not recognise the Government of National Accord’s legitimacy.

Haftar, whose forces have battled rebels around second city Benghazi for years, met earlier this week with GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj.

“A more secure, stable and prosperous future for Libya can only be restored when their leaders choose to work together in the interests of the Libyan people,” Johnson said Friday after meeting Salah.

He met Sarraj in Tripoli on Thursday and voiced the support of Britain — which played a pivotal role in overthrowing Kadhafi — for further talks with Haftar.

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