Renewed international push for a ceasefire in Libya as Haftar appears to engage
On 21 June, Libyan National Army (LNA) affiliated media outlets conducted an interview with Khalifa Haftar. Much of the interview was repetition of Haftar’s previously stated positions including that military operations will only stop once the LNA has achieved its objectives and the need to disband all militias and all the political bodies created by the Libyan Political Agreement. However, a new element was Haftar’s assertion that in the transitional phase, once the LNA’s objectives have been met, a national unity government would be formed but may not be based in Tripoli (but in a different Libyan city) if there are any “temporary logistical and security reasons” that prevent it operating from there.
President Trump’s call to Haftar shortly after his forces launched their assault on Tripoli in April created confusion around US policy towards Libya and was read by many as tacit US endorsement for Haftar’s offensive. However, Trump’s nomination of Norland as the U.S ambassador to Libya and the latter’s clear support for a ceasefire indicates a clearer a US position against the conflict in Libya is emerging. The renewed international push for a ceasefire in Libya signals the first serious attempt by international actors to end the stalemated conflict. It also appears that this renewed engagement is being driven by a clearer US position in support of a ceasefire and a new peace process. Nevertheless, it is unlikely to halt the conflict in the short term and could even lead to intensified clashes in the coming weeks as the LNA tries to push more forcefully to gain ground in the capital.