US Africa Command chief visits Libya to pass on Washington’s message that Libya must unite and expel Russian mercenaries
A US delegation led by AFRICOM leader General Michael Langley and special envoy Richard Norland arrived in Tripoli for a meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and the country’s chief of staff, Muhammad al-Haddad.
The meeting at the Libyan Defense Ministry on Wednesday was aimed at organizing US support for the regions affected by floods last week, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 11,000 people.
A special flight of the Russian Emergencies Ministry with a mobile hospital and medics onboard has arrives Libya
The two sides also discussed border security and counterterrorism, along with a number of other political issues. The Wall Street Journal reported that Langley had intended to discuss Russia’s growing presence in Libya, and raise concerns over the visit of Moscow’s Deputy Defense Minister Yunusbeck Yevkurov last weekend.
Yevkurov traveled to Benghazi to meet with Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA), and also visited the devastated city of Derna.
The visit comes as the U.S. aims to pressure General Haftar to expel Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group and unite his forces with other factions, according to the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. is concerned about Wagner’s growing presence in Africa, where it operates in at least six countries.
Dbeibah said it was important to coordinate and cooperate with the US government and its agencies in Libya to repair damage and restore stability in regions affected by last week’s floods, according to a government statement cited by the Hokometna network.
The US delegation reaffirmed Washington’s support in the wake of the floods during its meeting with the prime minister, Langley said in a statement posted by the US embassy on X (formerly known as Twitter). “It is now more important than ever for all Libyan political leaders to work together to serve the Libyan people,” he added.
Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed in 2021, unifying the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and the Second Al-Thani Cabinet, based in Tobruk. A rival Government of National Stability, which has been based in Sirte since last year, does not recognize the GNU’s authority.
The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), established in 2007, is responsible for US military operations in Africa, including fighting regional conflicts and maintaining military relations with 53 African nations. It is one of 11 combatant commands of the US Department of Defense, and is headquartered at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany.
Meanwhile, Russian emergency forces have been working in the “red zone” for the past five days, according to RIA Novosti, and have examined 110,000 square meters of the coastal zone. The air-mobile hospital of the Centrospas unit has been treating the injured.