U.S. Africa Command commander General Stephen J. Townsend accompanied U.S. Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland to a meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on June 22 in Zuwara, Libya. The meeting was held to emphasize the U.S. position that peace in Libya must be achieved through the political process, not military means.
"U.S. Africa Command provided the security that enabled this important Department of State engagement with Prime Minister Sarraj," said Townsend. "The current violence fuels the potential risk of terrorism and prolongs human suffering. Foreign military interference in Libya is not welcome, nor helpful."
The U.S. delegation reaffirmed the United States’ strong opposition to escalating foreign military intervention on all sides. The meeting focused on the imperative for an immediate ceasefire and end to offensive combat operations by all parties.
Norland outlined U.S. support for the intense international diplomacy underway through United Nations auspices to seize this opportunity.
"The current violence fuels the potential resurgence of ISIS and Al Qaeda in Libya, is further dividing the country for the benefit of foreign actors, and prolongs human suffering. External actors should stop fueling the conflict, respect the UN arms embargo, and uphold commitments made at the Berlin Summit,” said Norland.
Townsend presented his military perspective on the growing risk of escalation, the dangers posed by Russian-sponsored Wagner operations, and the potential of terrorist groups to exploit the continued conflict for recruitment or attacks.
The U.S. Department of State, with U.S. Africa Command support, has previously conducted engagements with both the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army – and will continue to engage both sides – in an effort to bring resolution to the conflict plaguing Libya.
"We emphasized to the Libyan delegation that all sides need to return to UN-led ceasefire and political negotiations because this tragic conflict is robbing all Libyans of their future,” said Townsend.