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Highest-level US delegation in seven years visits Libya: State Department

Published: Updated:

A senior US diplomat was in Libya Tuesday, marking the highest-level diplomatic visit by a US official in seven years.

“Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood and Special Envoy for Libya Richard Norland visited Libya May 18 and underscored US support for Libya’s December 2021 elections,” the State Department said.

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War-torn Libya has witnessed years of fighting since 2014, years after an uprising led to the ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Turkey, among other countries, has sent mercenaries and troops to fight for warring sides.

But in March, Abdulhamid Dbeibeh was appointed to lead Libya’s new government under a UN-backed plan that calls for elections in December.

Norland was named the new US envoy to Libya last week. He and Hood met with Libya’s foreign minister, head of the Presidential Council and President of the High National Electoral Commission, the State Department said.

Discussions revolved around a “Libyan-led, inclusive, and negotiated political solution to the conflict, facilitated through the UN and full implementation of the October 23 Libyan ceasefire agreement,” the State Department said.

“This is the highest-level diplomatic visit to Tripoli since 2014.”

Former US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American diplomats were assassinated in Libya’s Benghazi in 2012 under the Obama administration. US officials have blamed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama for ignoring intelligence warnings before the attack and later covering up what took place.

Read more: Arab League, UN, EU, AU demand foreign troops withdraw from Libya