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Rival Libyan camps hold ‘positive’ talks

IANS | Abu Dhabi |

Libya's United Nations-backed government's head Fayez al-Seraj held "positive" talks in here on Tuesday with eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, media reports said

The talks were held in a "positive climate", lasted around two hours and the rivals "exchanged friendly smiles and shook hands", reported private Libyan '218' TV channel.

Despite months of diplomatic pressure, Haftar had previously refused to engage with Seraj's government in Tripoli and Tuesday's meeting between the two men came after efforts by Abu Dhabi led by its Emir Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, according to the 218 channel.

Rogue general and strongman, Haftar is the military commander of Libya's eastern government, which enjoys close ties with Russia.

Over five years after the ousting of late Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country remains regionally split with rival centres of political power and a myriad of rival armed groups that Libya's two governments in Tripoli and Tobruk are unable to control.