US says it will maintain policy of 'active neutrality' on Libya

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The US will maintain a policy of “active neutrality” on Libya, the State Department said Thursday after it announced that it had met with the Libyan National Army (LNA) earlier in the week.

“The US delegation stressed its opposition to all foreign interference in Libya and discussed the imperative of an immediate ceasefire and return to UN-facilitated security and political negotiations,” the statement read, revealing that a virtual meeting was held between US officials and LNA representatives on July 1.

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Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the LNA have seen tensions rise in recent weeks after Tripoli-based GNA has gained ground against the Benghazi-based LNA, led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar and backed by countries including Russia and Egypt.

“The two sides affirmed that all Libyans should enjoy the protection of capable and accountable security forces, free from the dangers posed by militias, non-state armed groups, and foreign fighters,” Thursday's statement said.

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While the LNA briefed US officials on its commitment to the UN-facilitated dialogue, the US warned that armed groups attempting to “spoil the political process” risk international sanctions.

American officials also voiced their opposition to the LNA’s affiliation with the Wagner group, “a Russian Ministry of Defense proxy.”

Wednesday’s meeting, the statement said, was in “keeping with US policy of active neutrality on Libya,” following “US engagement regarding militias with GNA representatives last week.”

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