Smoke rises from Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 28, 2020. The forces of the UN-backed Libyan government said on Friday that the rival east-based army attacked the Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli with heavy shelling. (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/Xinhua)
Smoke rises from Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 28, 2020. The forces of the UN-backed Libyan government said on Friday that the rival east-based army attacked the Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli with heavy shelling. (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/Xinhua)

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Monday called for immediate de-escalation in Libya.

In a phone conversation on Monday, the two leaders “affirmed the need for immediate de-escalation in Libya, including through a ceasefire and progress on economic and political negotiations”, the White House said in a statement.

Trump Monday also talked to French President Emmanuel Macron on ways to de-escalate the situation in Libya, the White House said in a separate statement.

The phone conversations came as the situation in Libya faced a risk of further escalation. The Egyptian Parliament earlier in the day issued a mandate allowing the Egyptian president to send troops abroad to “protect national security.”

Under the mandate, Egypt’s armed forces can carry out combat missions outside the borders to defend Egypt’s national security “in the western strategic direction against the actions of armed criminal militias and foreign terrorist elements,” the parliament said in a statement.

Libya has been engaged in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rivals with warring forces — the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.

Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates support Haftar’s LNA, while the GNA is mainly backed by Turkey and Qatar. Enditem

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