U.S. still hopeful for political solution for Libya

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the United States is still hopeful that a political solution can be found to end the conflict in Libya, Al Arabiya English reported.

Pompeo said at a press conference that the United States is still committed to the 5+5 peace talks in Berlin, which brought together five representatives from the Turkish-backed, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) along with five rival counterparts from the rebel General Khalifa’s Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

“We’ve worked closely with our European partners to try and get these talks restarted. I was in Berlin several months back,” Pompeo said.

He also said that the United States remained committed to upholding the United Nations arms embargo on the country.

“The mission set remains the same: to get the fighting to stop, to reduce the flow of arms flowing there from any place, whether that’s from the Turks, from the Russians, from anyone, to reduce the footprint of the military conflict, and then to find a political solution to resolve, to get a stable, peaceful situation in Tripoli and in Libya more broadly,” he said.

Haftar’s forces launched an offensive in April last year to try to capture Tripoli from the GNA. 

However, the LNA were forced to retreat from much of western Libya in recent weeks after Turkey stepped up its support for the United Nations-recognised GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Buoyed by their recent battlefield victories, GNA-aligned forces said they would only halt their counter-offensive after capturing Jufra airbase and Sirte, a key oil industry city on the Mediterranean. 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi warned over the weekend that any attack on Sirte or Jufra would amount to crossing a "red line" and that Egypt could then intervene militarily.