The US Embassy in Libya has denied a story in Saudi-owned Al-Hadath that a formal delegation of US officials has arrived in Benghazi, the stronghold of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported.
Al-Hadath used Twitter on Sunday to quote what it described as exclusive sources concerning, "News about the arrival of a US delegation to Benghazi to discuss a solution."
#ليبيا — مصادر الحدث: أنباء عن وصول وفد أميركي إلى بنغازي لبحث مساعي الحل
— ا لـ حـ ـد ث (@AlHadath) May 24, 2020
In response to Al-Hadath's claim, the US Embassy tweeted: "There is no US delegation heading to Benghazi … This is a rumour."
@AlHadath لا يوجد وفد أميركي متوجه إلى بنغازي. هذه الشائعة غير صحيحة.
— U.S. Embassy – Libya (@USAEmbassyLibya) May 25, 2020
Twitter users went on to describe this incident as a "scandal" by the pro-Haftar media outlet. It was said that it would be better for it to "pretend to be dead" in order to avoid the embarrassment caused by the US response.
من كمية الكذب
حتى الدبلوماسية الأمريكية فقدت صبرها 😁
— عبدالسلام الراجحي (@fblGHEZPBFjXtAf) May 25, 2020
اعمل نفسك ميت @AlHadath 🤣🤣🤣
— Ahmed Naaji (@AhmedNaaji33) May 25, 2020
قناة الحدث: pic.twitter.com/x7W7lZyOID
— Rawan 🇵🇸 (@rra_wann) May 25, 2020
On Saturday, the US Ambassador in Tripoli, Richard Norland, praised the Libyan government's contribution to the efforts of "defeating terrorism and achieving peace" in the country.
According to a statement on the embassy website, "Ambassador Norland spoke to the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, on Friday to confirm the urgent need to end the destabilising flow of military equipment and mercenaries into Libya from Russia and other countries."
Haftar's militia, which receives military, financial and media support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, has been trying for more than a year to take control of the Libyan capital.
In recent weeks, Haftar's forces have suffered a series of heavy defeats at the hands of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), losing cities on the West Coast, the strategic Al-Watiyah Air Base and other towns and cities in the west of the country.