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US urges Haftar-led forces to end offensive in Libya

Members of the Self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) special forces attend a graduation ceremony in Benghazi on December 31, 2018 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images]
Members of the Self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) special forces attend a graduation ceremony in Benghazi on December 31, 2018 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images]

On Friday, the US called on Libyan National Army forces, led by military commander Khalifa Haftar, to halt their offensive in the war-torn north African nation, Anadolu Agency reported.

“Today, the US-#Libya Security Dialogue launched in Washington DC. We call on the ‘Libyan National Army’ to end its offensive, facilitate US-Libya cooperation & prevent Russia’s attempts to exploit the conflict,” State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, announced on Twitter.

“The US supports Libya’s sovereignty & territorial integrity,” she added.

The announcement came less than a week after Fathi Bashagha, the interior minister of Libya’s internationally-recognised government, accused Russia of fuelling the ongoing war with mercenaries, and urged the US to increase efforts to resolve the crisis.

Bashagha told Bloomberg News that the US cooperated with Libya in its fight against Daesh, but that attacks by Haftar undermined the fight against terrorists, and that Russia exacerbated ongoing unrest in the country.

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“The Russians have intervened to pour fuel on the fire and enhance the crisis rather than finding a solution,” Bashahga asserted, criticising the deployment of the Wagner Russian paramilitary group.

“The proof is their deployment of Wagner to Libya. They had sent it to Syria before, and central Africa, and wherever Wagner goes destruction happens,” he stressed.

Russia denies the existence of the group in Libya.

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