Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

US Administration Proposes Demilitarized Zone in Libya’s Sirte, Jufra

US Administration Proposes Demilitarized Zone in Libya’s Sirte, Jufra

Thursday, 6 August, 2020 - 10:15
Pro-GNA forces during drills in Abu Grein area between Misrata and Sirte (EPA)

The United States has proposed a “demilitarized” solution in the Libyan cities of Sirte and Jufra and the immediate resumption of oil production, which has been suspended for about eight months.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has announced a solution to the Libyan crisis, including the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces’ evacuation of their current locations in Sirte and Jufra and the neutralization of the oil issue from the country’s political and military conflict.

US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien called on all parties – both those responsible for the current escalation and those working to end it – to enable the National Oil Corporation to resume its vital work, with full transparency, and to implement a demilitarized solution for both cities, respect the UN arms embargo and finalize a ceasefire under the UN-led 5+5 military talks.

In a statement published by the White House late on Tuesday, O’Brien said the US is deeply troubled by the escalating conflict in Libya.

“We strongly oppose foreign military involvement, including the use of mercenaries and private military contractors, by all sides,” he stressed.

“The ongoing efforts of foreign powers to exploit the conflict – for example, by establishing an enduring military presence or exerting control over resources that belong to the Libyan people – pose grave threats to regional stability and global commerce,” the statement read.

It added that these efforts undermine the collective security interests of the US and its allies and partners in the Mediterranean region.

“Escalation will only deepen and prolong the conflict,” he noted.

O’Brien pointed out that Trump has spoken over the past few weeks with several world leaders about Libya, and it is clear there is no “winning” side.

Libyans can win only if they come together to reclaim their sovereignty and rebuild a unified country, the official stated.

As an active, but neutral, actor, O’Brien explained, the US is pursuing a 360 degree diplomatic engagement with Libyan and external stakeholders across the conflict to find a solution that supports Libyan sovereignty and protects the shared interests of the US, its allies, and partners.

Trump discussed the need to de-escalate the situation in Libya in recent weeks with French President Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

Meanwhile, Libyan sources have recently told Asharq Al-Awsat about a possible deal on official resumption of oil production in Libya, in return for Turkey’s exit from the military scene and avoidance of an imminent war in the Mediterranean region.

Editor Picks