Libya: Washington pushes Haftar to end Tripoli hostilities

Washington has called on Libyan eastern military rebel Khalifa Haftar to end his offensive on Tripoli, ongoing since April.

A US delegation of senior officials, among whom Deputy National Security Advisor for Middle Eastern and North African Affairs Victoria Coates, and Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland, called for “concrete efforts to address militias and extremist elements, and the distribution of resources so they benefit all Libyans,” the State Department said in a statement.

Haftar launched early April a surprise offensive to seize capital Tripoli from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) that he accuses of housing terrorists and criminals.

The offensive has met by fierce opposition from GNA-aligned forces backed by Turkey. Haftar himself have received backing from the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The US delegation also voiced Washington’s concerns over the presence of Russian operatives in the country. Several reports have raised the alarm over the presence of Russian fighters in the ranks of Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA).

The visit of the US delegation came few days after Haftar’s forces admitted they shot down a US drone but by mistake. The LNA claimed it mistook the drone for a Turkish pilotless aircraft.

According to Libya Express, the LNA has apologized to Americans and “agreed with the Americans to coordinate their operations over Tripoli and its surrounding areas to avoid similar incidents in the future.”

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