28 August – 3 September: New AFRICOM Commander meets Serraj

Sep 4, 2019 | International actors

On 26 August, the head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Serraj, met with the new Commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), General Stephen Townsend, and US Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, in Tunis. The meeting reportedly focused on security issues, particularly confronting terrorism in Libya and resolving the Tripoli crisis through non-military measures. The US representatives reiterated the US position that a political settlement to the conflict is required. The US ambassador suggested that the US intends to return to Tripoli, but did not provide specific details as to when this would occur.

On 30 August, Norland met with the head of the High Council of State (HCS), Khalid al-Mishri, in Tunis to discuss the state of Libya’s political process. Mishri and Norland discussed cooperative efforts related to terrorism, illegal immigration, and the need to return to the political process and for negative external interventions to cease.

On 29 August, the UN published a report outlining the UN Secretary General’s (UNSG) overview of the Libyan crisis as presented to the UN Security Council on 26 August. The report detailed the political, economic and security developments in Libya. Notably it stated that the conflict in southern Tripoli has “further polarised an already fragmented political landscape” with both sides “engaged in efforts to garner international support.”

The report noted that the UN, as a result of the security environment in western Libya, had reduced its international civilian staff footprint to 70 people. The report called for a one-year extension to the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) mandate in Libya strengthen the UN stance that there is no military solution to the current conflict. Additionally, the report called for UN members states to observe the arms embargo on Libya.