The US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, said his mission was, upon assuming his office, to end the attack waged by Khalifa Haftar on Tripoli, adding that he tried to convince Haftar to stop the war and proposed settlement options that the authorities in Tripoli agreed to at the time, but he ignored all those opportunities.
Norland added in an interview with London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Turkey’s intervention stopped the attack of Haftar’s forces and Wagner Group mercenaries, whose presence in Libya wasn’t denied by Russina officials.
The US ambassador said that the modern weapons brought by Wagner mercenaries could lead to a possible strategic competition on the southern flank of NATO, saying despite a modest pullout from Jufra and Sirte, they are still in Libya and signs say they are in it for the long run.
Norland said what happened in Chad recently begs the need for Libya to form a national army with a unified military structure that can protect and secure borders, adding that Chadian mercenaries were inside Libya and some of them were trained by Haftar’s forces and Wagner mercenaries.
The US ambassador added that establishing a constitutional and legislative basis for elections by July 01 is a very essential step toward December 24, adding that there are issues that must be resolved first, namely: will Libyans elect the parliament members and president together, or first the parliament and then the president, or the parliament is the one responsible for electing the president?
Norland explained that the Libyan House of Representatives is working slowly regarding the elections legislation and constitutional basis, adding that if it didn’t progress, the matter could go to the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum and reiterating that the US Biden administration believes that there is an opportunity for Libya to achieve a positive outcome of the ongoing momentum.