Cairo, a backer of rival warlord Khalifa Haftar, has sent senior officials to meet with the UN-backed government for the first time in nearly six years.

Libyan rivals struck a ceasefire agreement in October, which has been generally respected, setting the stage for elections at the end of 2021.
Libyan rivals struck a ceasefire agreement in October, which has been generally respected, setting the stage for elections at the end of 2021. (AA)

Egyptian security officials have met with representatives of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), the first delegation in nearly six years from Cairo – a backer of rival warlord Khalifa Haftar in the conflict-hit country.

Interior minister for the UN-recognised GNA, Fathi Bachagha, held "a high-level meeting" with the Egyptian delegation, which included the deputy intelligence services chief, his office said on Sunday.

Imed Trabelsi, head of the Libyan general security body, also attended the meeting.

The talks covered "ways of strengthening security cooperation" and support for a ceasefire signed in October between rival Libyan sides under UN auspices, the ministry added.

The delegation also met with the GNA's Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala.

READ MORE: Erdogan: Egypt's actions in Libya are illegal

Chaos after Gaddafi's killing

Libya was thrown into chaos after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and led to the killing of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Wracked by violence since then, the North African country has become a battleground for tribal militias, terrorists, and mercenaries and a major gateway for desperate migrants bound for Europe.

Two rival camps now vie for power, with an eastern-based administration – backed by Haftar's militia – pitted against the Tripoli-based GNA.

But in October the two sides struck a ceasefire agreement, which has been generally respected, setting the stage for elections at the end of 2021.

Turkish support for the GNA earlier this year helped repel a 14-month offensive against the capital by Haftar launched in April last year.

Besides Egypt, Haftar is also backed by Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Sunday's visit was the first made by an official Egyptian delegation to Tripoli since 2014, when Egypt closed its embassy in the Libyan capital due to violence.

READ MORE: Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar threatens Turkey with war

Aim of talks

The aim of the talks was to work to "normalise diplomatic relations" between Tripoli and Cairo and to discuss "cooperation in various areas", said Mohammad Elgeblawi, spokesman for the GNA Foreign Ministry.

According to Elgeblawi, the delegation pledged to reopen the Egyptian consulate "as soon as possible" and to re-establish air links between the two capitals, which have been interrupted for several years.

Turkey warns Haftar's militias

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has warned that the illegal militias of Haftar and their supporters would be viewed as "legitimate targets" if they attempted to attack Turkish forces in the region.

Speaking during a visit to Turkish soldiers in Tripoli, Akar said Haftar had recently started making calls targeting Turkish forces in Libya and calling for attacks on Turkish troops, and also called on all parties to support political talks instead.

"This war criminal, thug Haftar and his backers should know that in the event of an attack on the Turkish forces, the killer Haftar's forces will be viewed as legitimate targets everywhere," Akar said.

"They should get this in their heads. If they do something like this, they will have nowhere to run," he said. "Everyone should contribute to reaching a political solution here. Any move other than this is wrong."

READ MORE: How the UAE, Russia and France have teamed up in Libya

Source: TRTWorld and agencies