US officials meet Haftar


US officials met with eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar as Washington presses him to end his offensive on the capital, the US State Department said.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has been trying to take Tripoli, held by an internationally recognised government, since April.

Haftar and the US delegation, which included White House deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates, discussed “steps to achieve a suspension of hostilities and a political resolution to the Libyan conflict,” the department said in a statement. It did not say where the meeting took place.

“The officials underscored the US’s full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya and expressed serious concern over Russia’s exploitation of the conflict at the expense of the Libyan people,” the statement said.

Haftar is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and most recently Russian mercenaries, according to diplomats and Tripoli officials. The LNA denies any foreign backing.

On November 14, the State Department – after a visit to Washington by Tripoli-based government ministers – called on Haftar to end the offensive.

“These frank discussions build on recent talks with Tripoli-based officials aiming to establish a common basis for progress between the parties on the issues dividing them, in the context of moving towards a ceasefire,” the department said.