US AFRICOM meets with GNA in Zuwara, focus on return to negotiations
On 22 June, the head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Serraj, hosted a closed-door meeting in Zuwara with a US AFRICOM delegation led by General Stephen Townsend and accompanied by US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland. In an article published on 23 June, The Arab Weekly commented that following the meeting, the US published a statement suggesting that the Trump administration had drawn a ceasefire line going beyond the present line of separation between the warring factions, at the limits of the area of Misrata.
The recent uptick in US engagement in Libya through the embassy and AFRICOM is predominantly driven by the desire to counter Russian influence in the country. The US likely hopes that by actively engaging with key Libyan actors and pushing for a resumption of the UN-mediated talks, the Russian-dominated ceasefire and dialogue process will be weakened due to lack of support from the Libyan clients and increased wariness among other countries engaged in Libya. However, the US is likely to remain unwilling to exert meaningful political or military capital to create the conditions in which a UN-mediated process might succeed. As such, the UN-mediated process remains unlikely to gain traction any time soon.