(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) The US is“actively” working on re-establishing a diplomatic
presence in Libya, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on
Wednesday, although he declined to provide an exact time on when
the US embassy can be reopened, trend reports citing al
Libya has had little peace since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising
that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and it split in 2014 between rival
eastern and western factions, with the last major bout of conflict
ending in 2020 with a ceasefire.
Washington shut its embassy in Tripoli in 2014 and moved to its
mission to neighboring Tunis following intensifying violence
between rival factions. US Special Envoy for Libya, Richard
Norland, has operated out of the Tunisian capital, and took
occasional trips into Libya.
A September 2012 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, since
closed, killed four Americans including the then US ambassador to
Libya, Chris Stevens.
“I can't give you a timetable other than to say that this is
something we're very actively working on. I want to see us be able
to re-establish an ongoing presence in Libya,” Blinken said at a
Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
Blinken did not provide any details on the active work he
Assistant Secretary Barbara Leaf, top diplomat for the Middle
East and North Africa, is currently touring the region, traveling
to Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, and Tunisia March 15-25.
In Libya, the State Department said, Leaf will meet with senior
Libyan officials“to underscore US support for UN-facilitated
efforts to promote consensus leading to elections in 2023.”
“There's also an important moment where through the work of the
UN envoy, there may be, and I emphasize maybe, a path forward to
moving Libya in a better direction including getting election for
legitimate government and our diplomats are deeply engaged in
that,” Blinken added.
The OPEC member country has been locked in political stalemate
since late 2021 when a scheduled election was canceled because of
disputes over the rules and the eastern-based parliament, the House
of Representatives, withdrew support from the interim
Peacemaking efforts have focused on getting the House of
Representatives and the High State Council to agree on a
constitutional basis for elections and on voting rules.
The United Nations' special envoy for Libya last month moved to
take charge of a stalled political process to enable elections that
are seen as the path to resolving years of conflict.