The US State Department expressed on Thursday its alarm at the link between the forces of Major General Khalifa Haftar and the Russian Wagner group, stressing that this contradicts US and Libyan interests and undermines Libya’s sovereignty.
The Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on its website that: “Militias that try to spoil the political process or engage in actions that threaten the stability of Libya should not be tolerated.”
On Wednesday, the US government met with representatives of Haftar’s forces to hold discussions on the demobilisation of the militia, according to the statement.
The US side stressed that the link between Haftar’s forces and the Russian Wagner group, combined with the continued closure of the oil fields, are contrary to US and Libyan interests, and could increase the risk of conflict that could harm the oil infrastructure.
The statement underlined Washington’s rejection of all foreign interventions in Libya, and discussed the need for an immediate ceasefire, and a return to UN-facilitated security and political negotiations.
According to the US State Department, the meeting came in line with the policy of neutrality pursued by the US in Libya, after Washington discussed the militia file with the Government of National Accord (GNA) representatives last week.
On 7 June, the UN called on the Libyan parties to: “Initiate the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission talks in order to reach a permanent ceasefire agreement.”
The pressure and moves to return to negotiations have been increasing, amid the Libyan army’s recent achievement of numerous victories in the western regions, as it has liberated cities occupied by Haftar’s militia, and is preparing to liberate the city of Sirte (450 kilometres east of the capital of Tripoli).
The Libyan Foreign Ministry confirmed in June that the government continues to clear the country of the Wagner mercenaries, which have become a “threat” to regional and international, and not only to Libyan security.