US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the United States is deeply concerned about fighting near Libya’s capital Tripoli and is seeking an immediate halt to an offensive by strongman Khalifa Haftar.
He said in a statement that the US is opposed to the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s forces and urge the immediate halt to military operations against the Libyan capital.
Libya descended into chaos during the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi that has seen a bitter rivalry emerge between the Tripoli-based authorities and Haftar’s supporters in the east of the country.
Fighting raged south of Tripoli yesterday, three days after Haftar launched the offensive to seize the capital, now controlled by a UN-backed unity government and an array of militias.
In a related development, Russia yesterday blocked a UN Security Council statement that would have called on forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar to halt their advance on Tripoli, diplomats said.
Moscow insisted that the formal statement urge all Libyan forces to stop fighting, but the proposed change was opposed by the United States, council diplomats said. Russia has been a key supporter of Haftar, along with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.