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Saudi Arabia steps up role in Libya

Saudi Arabia is reported to be providing greater financing to forces associated with Libyan strongman Khalifa Hifter in order to counter Turkey's intervention on the side of Libya's Government of National Accord.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets with Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 27, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC1909E0CC40
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Saudi Arabia is stepping up its support for Libyan National Army chieftain Khalifa Hifter and its role as a potential power broker in a political settlement in Libya. The kingdom and the United Arab Emirates are both concerned about Turkey’s growing engagement in Libya, which includes the deployment of Syrian mercenaries to prop up the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.

Saudi Arabia’s growing involvement in Libya is evident in both the diplomatic and military spheres. On Jan. 13, Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum traveled to Riyadh to discuss Libya’s peace process, and Libya’s UN Ambassador Taher el-Sonni met with Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdullah al-Muallami, Jan. 18 to discuss the conflict resolution process. On Jan. 24, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that Saudi Arabia provided financial assistance to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization that deploys mercenaries to support Hifter’s forces.

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