The United States on Thursday reiterated its call for a political settlement of the civil war in Libya, and imposed sanctions on Libyans suspected of fueling the conflict by trafficking in oil and drugs. US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo spoke of the Libyan crisis in a telephone interview with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri, whose country is one of the main supporters of the strongman in eastern Libya, Khalifa Haftar.
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US Secretary of State and Sameh Choukri discussed "the importance of supporting a UN-brokered ceasefire in Libya, through political and economic discussions , " the State Department said. This interview came when the head of Turkish diplomacy, Mevlüt Cavusoglu, was in Tripoli, where Ankara actively supports the unity government (GNA) recognized by the UN against Marshal Haftar.
Mevlüt Cavusoglu estimated that for a cease-fire to be "sustainable", the GNA must be able to extend its control over Sirte (450 km east of Tripoli) and Joufra, further south, where there is a significant air base, now both under pro-Haftar control. At the same time, the US Treasury froze the assets of a Libyan national, Faysal al-Wadi, two of his associates and a Malta-based company, Alwefaq Ltd, accusing them of illegally exporting oil and gas. drugs to the European Union via Malta. "The control of smuggling routes, oil installations and transport centers is a key driver of the conflict in Libya," the Treasury said in a statement.
Libya has been in chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011. Since the end of 2019, the GNA has benefited from increased military support - and decisive in the battle for Tripoli - from Turkey. Mr. Haftar is supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The White House on Tuesday condemned the presence of foreign military forces in Libya, saying there were no "winners" in the civil war tearing the country apart. The United States recognizes the Tripoli government, but President Donald Trump sowed confusion last year by praising Marshal Haftar.