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Senegal pushes for AU role in tackling Libya confict

"The whole African continent is worried about the consequences of what is happening in Libya," he said during a press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

FILE: Senegalese President Macky Sall delivers a speech during his coalition's election campaign meeting at Lamine Gueye stadium in Kaolack, Senegal on 12 February 2019. Picture: AFP

DAKAR - Senegalese President Macky Sall on Tuesday said the African Union should be part of efforts to resolve the Libyan conflict as he warned that arms from the North African country could flood into the war-torn Sahel.

"The whole African continent is worried about the consequences of what is happening in Libya," he said during a press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 Nato-backed uprising that killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival administrations vying for power.

Eastern Libyan forces under strongman Khalifa Haftar have been battling since April to seize the capital Tripoli from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), which is supported by Turkey.

Sall said his wish "above all, (is) to involve the African Union in any search for a solution" to the conflict, adding that there can only be a political solution to the violence.

Leaders of the 55-country bloc are due to meet in the Republic of Congo, also called Congo-Brazzaville, on Thursday.

"Africa's worry is that there's a risk that all these weapons (from Libya) will transit through the Sahel," the Senegalese president said.

South of Libya, local and foreign troops have been struggling to quell jihadist violence which is raging across Sahel states Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

On Tuesday, Erdogan said Haftar had "no political recognition" either in Libya or abroad.

Turkey's parliament has approved a bill approving a military deployment to Libya to shore up the UN-backed government.

However, the Turkish president said in Algeria on Sunday that the conflict in Libya cannot be solved by military means.

Erdogan was speaking Tuesday on the final leg of a whistle-stop tour through Algeria, The Gambia and Senegal.

"We consider the peoples of Africa as brothers and sisters with whom we share the same destiny," he said in Dakar on Tuesday.