US officials meet Libya’s Haftar to end Tripoli attack


Senior U.S. officials held talks with East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar to discuss steps to halt an offensive on the capital Tripoli, according to a statement by the U.S. State Department.

In April, Haftar’s forces launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord GNA), but have so far failed to make advance beyond the city’s outskirts.

According to the statement, the talks tackled steps to achieve a suspension of hostilities and a political resolution to the Libyan conflict.

It, however, did not disclose the venue of the meeting.

The statement said the meeting builds on recent talks with Tripoli-based officials to establish a common basis for progress between the parties with a view to reaching a ceasefire.

“The officials underscored the United States’ 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,” it said.

Since the ouster and death of ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: One in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara
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