On May 23, USLBA hosted a productive meeting with US Companies and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Joshua Harris from the US Department of State Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
As part of the Global Fragility Act, the US government has released to Congress a 10-year strategic plan to prevent conflict and promote stability in Libya. The plan focuses on four main pillars: political reconciliation, security sector reform, economic reform and the provision of essential services, and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law. The plan aims to support Libya’s efforts to achieve a durable and inclusive political solution to the ongoing conflict, which includes promoting human rights and accountability, addressing the root causes of the conflict, and supporting the building of resilient institutions. The US government also pledged to work with Libya’s neighbors and international partners to implement this strategy. Read more about the strategy here.
Successive U.S. Administrations have sought to prevent Libya from serving as a permissive environment for transnational terrorist groups and have taken different approaches to conflict and competition among Libyans. The Biden Administration supports the holding of new elections in Libya and has used U.S. influence to bolster U.N.-led mediation efforts to that end. Congress has appropriated funds to enable U.S. diplomacy and aid programs, and some Members have called for more assertive U.S. engagement. The postponement of planned elections in 2021, Libyans’ continuing lack of consensus over constitutional and legal arrangements, the potential fragility of a United Nations (U.N.)-backed ceasefire, and the re-emergence of institutional rivalry are prolonging Libya’s instability and pose challenges for U.S. decisionmakers. Read more from the US Naval Institute.
Ambassador Robert Wood said that the status quo in Libya is not stable, with heightened risks of partition, energy disruptions, further political strife, and violence. The only viable path to a durable peace in Libya is enabling the Libyan people to choose their own leaders in national elections. Now is the time to restore momentum. The United States endorses action by Special Representative Bathily and UNSMIL to directly address the electoral process via an UN-facilitated elections-enabling mechanism that will secure the resolution of the issues that stand in the way of elections in Libya. The SRSG has outlined an inclusive process that keeps key institutions and leaders at the table – however, there is no room for spoilers seeking to thwart the will of the Libyan people. Read more from the US Mission to the UN.
In Washington, the United States hosted the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, and senior officials from Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Türkiye, the UAE, and the UK, to discuss the Libyan people’s demand for presidential and parliamentary elections. Ahead of his briefing to the UN Security Council, Special Representative Bathily updated participants on his consultations with Libyan leaders and institutions in order to promote consensus leading to elections in 2023. Participants took note of the achievements made by the Libyan House of Representatives and High Council of State in Egypt-facilitated negotiations on a constitutional basis for elections and consulted on the next steps in finalizing election preparations. In remarks to the visiting officials, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman underscored the U.S. agreement with SRSG Bathily that we should help make 2023 the year of free and fair Libyan elections. Read more from the US State Department.
USAID confirmed its willingness to provide assistance for Libya’s High National Elections Commission (HNEC) in the area of managing and executing the upcoming elections, thereby bolstering their preparedness for the achievement of the democratic process in Libya. John Cardenas, the representative of USAID, accompanied by his deputy Nathan Park, paid a visit to the HNEC headquarters on Wednesday, in support of the international community’s efforts to encourage and facilitate democratic practices in Libya. The HNEC, for their part, expressed their gratitude towards the international community’s endeavors in bringing the transitional phase to a close and establishing a secure democratic state through a transparent electoral process. Read more from the Libya Herald.
The United States has stepped up pressure on Middle East allies to expel the Wagner Group, a military contractor with close ties to Russia’s president, from chaos-stricken Libya and Sudan where it expanded in recent years, regional officials told The Associated Press. The U.S. effort described by officials comes as the Biden administration is making a broad push against the mercenaries. The U.S. has slapped new sanctions on the Wagner Group in recent months over its expanding role in Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Biden administration has been working for months with regional powers Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to pressure military leaders in Sudan and Libya to end their ties with the group, according to more than a dozen Libyan, Sudanese, and Egyptian officials. They asked for anonymity to speak freely because they were not authorized to discuss the issue with the media. Read more from the AP.
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns made a rare trip to Libya on Thursday, meeting Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah in Tripoli, the Libyan government said. Dbeibah’s Government of National Unity announced the visit on its Facebook page, posting a picture of Burns and Dbeibah together. Two sources close to eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, who is based in Benghazi, said Burns had also met with him. The CIA, which does not regularly announce such visits, declined to comment. Read more from Reuters.
Libya’s Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohammed Oun, met with US State Department and White House officials in Washington this week. During the meeting, Oun presented the ministry’s vision for the future of the oil sector, and its endeavor to improve transparency and good governance. Oun highlighted the importance of American technology and experience and the role the US can play in exploring and developing oil fields in Libya, in addition to exploiting shale oil and gas reserves which would contribute to the needs of the global market. The American side reaffirmed support for the vision of the Ministry of Oil and Gas in Libya and the importance of taking the benefit from oil revenues to serve Libyans, noting that the American administration does not object to providing technical and practical assistance through its companies in the field of oil and gas. Read more from the Libya Observer.