US, Libyan government discuss disbanding militias

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON(AA) – The US said Friday it has held discussions with the UN-recognized government in Libya regarding the demobilization of its militias.

The discussions were held with representatives from the the Government of National Accord's Interior Ministry, and the State Department said the body "briefed the U.S. side on its efforts to promote security and a program for militia disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), as well as ongoing work to neutralize unexploded ordnance in the Tripoli region."

"The delegations reaffirmed that armed groups that attempt to spoil the political process or engage in criminal acts do so at a significant risk of international sanctions," it said.

"The U.S. delegation stressed opposition to all foreign intervention in Libya and discussed the imperative of an immediate ceasefire and return to UN-facilitated security and political negotiations," it added.

The US will also hold discussions with representatives from the Libyan National Army led by renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the department said.

On June 6, the Libyan government launched a military operation – Path of Victory – to liberate cities in eastern and central Libya, including Sirte, Jufra, towns in Wadi Wishka, Buerat, Jarif and Qasr Abu Haid.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar’s forces, resulting in civilian chaos and more than 1,000 deaths.

In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital, and recently retook strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and the city of Tarhuna, Haftar's final stronghold in western Libya.

Libyan premier Sarraj meets Italian foreign minister

By Mucahit Aydemir

TRIPOLI (AA) – Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on Wednesday met with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio in the capital Tripoli.

During the meeting, officials discussed recent developments in Libya and relations between the two friendly countries, according to a written statement issued by the Libyan government.

Secretary General of Italian Foreign Ministry Elisabetta Belloni, Italy’s Ambassador to Libya Giuseppe Buccini, Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala and Libya's Ambassador to the European Union Hafez Kaddour were also present at the meeting.

Both sides stressed the importance of returning to the political process in Libya and underlined that they reject negative foreign interventions in its internal affairs.

On Operation IRINI, Sarraj said the operation must be comprehensive and it should be conducted in the land, air and sea at the same time.

On March 31, EU foreign ministers approved the launch of Operation IRINI. The mission aims to operate in the air, sea and with satellites to ensure that all countries respect the ban on providing arms to the parties involved in the Libyan conflict.

EU forces will also watch any illegal oil exports, prevent human trafficking and contribute to the training of the local coast guard and navy as a complementary task.

Sarraj also thanked Italy for its contributions in the mine and explosive searches conducted in Libya's civilian settlements.

Increasing coordination on the fight against irregular migration in the Mediterranean and the COVID-19 outbreak were also discussed during the meeting.

Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar's forces.

The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority as Tripoli battles Haftar's militias.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm this March to counter Haftar's attacks on Tripoli and recently liberated strategic locations including Tarhuna, his final stronghold in western Libya.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

Libyan army discovers three corpses south of Tripoli

By Abdelrahman Fathy Ramadan Mohamed and Gulsen Topcu

TRIPOLI (AA) – The Libyan army said Tuesday it had discovered the bodies of three people in an area south of the capital Tripoli.

According to a statement issued by the press office of the Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation, the bodies of the unidentified individuals were found in Ayn Zara.

The area where the corpses were found was once under the control of militias loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar and mercenaries working with the Russian security firm Wagner, it said.

Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by Haftar's forces.

The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority as Tripoli battles Haftar's militias.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm in March to counter Haftar's attacks on Tripoli and recently liberated strategic locations including Tarhuna, his final stronghold in western Libya.