US tells Haftar to end his forces’ offensive on Libya’s capital
The U.S. called Friday on forces led by Khalifa Haftar to “end their offensive” on Tripoli, after almost 8 months of fighting.
“Today, the U.S-#Libya Security Dialogue launched in Washington D.C. We call on the “Libyan National Army” to end its offensive, facilitate U.S.-Libya cooperation, & prevent Russia’s attempts to exploit the conflict,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Twitter.
“The U.S. supports Libya’s sovereignty & territorial integrity,” she added.
The announcement came less than a week after the Interior Minister of Libya’s internationally-recognized government accused Russia of fueling the ongoing war with mercenaries and urged the U.S. to increase efforts to resolve the crisis.
Fathi Bashagha told Bloomberg News that the U.S. cooperated with Libya in its fight against the Daesh/ISIS terror group, but that attacks by Haftar undermined the fight against terrorists and that Russia exacerbated ongoing unrest in the country.
“The Russians have intervened to pour fuel on the fire and enhance the crisis rather than finding a solution,” Bashahga said, criticizing the deployment of the Wagner Russian paramilitary group.
“The proof is their deployment of Wagner to Libya. They had sent it to Syria before, and central Africa, and wherever Wagner goes destruction happens,” he said.
Russia denies the existence of the group in Libya.
Forces aligned with Haftar launched a campaign in April to capture Tripoli from Libya’s internationally recognized GNA.