US says it opposes military escalation in Libya, calls for building on Egyptian initiative

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Jun 2020

White House
File Photo: A reviewing stand is seen outside of the White House in Washington, US. (Photo: Reuters)

The United States said it is against any military escalation in Libya, urging warring parties to commit to a ceasefire and build on an Egyptian initiative to end the civil war in the neighbouring country.

“The United States strongly opposes military escalation in Libya - on all sides. We urge parties to commit to a ceasefire and resume negotiations immediately. We must build on progress made through the UN‘s 5+5 talks, the Cairo Initiative, and the Berlin process,” the White House National Security Council (NSC) said on Twitter early on Monday.

Earlier this month, Egyptian President Abedl Fattah El-Sisi announced an initiative that proposes a ceasefire and called for disbanding Libyan militias and the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries.

The plan was accepted by eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, but dismissed by the rival western government in Tripoli.

The NSC was also referring to UN-brokered talks involving five senior officers appointed by each side that aimed to secure a ceasefire, and a Libya peace conference in Berlin earlier this year.

The oil-rich country is divided between two rival administrations in the east and west.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia support Haftar, while the Government of National Accord (GNA) is supported by Qatar and Turkey.

Earlier this week, El-Sisi said his country has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya to defend itself against “direct threats” from “terrorist militias”.

The president said any intervention will be meant to protect Egypt’s western border with Libya, achieve a ceasefire, and restore stability in Libya, stressing that Cairo has long been reluctant to take the move.

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