Fayez Serraj, head of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) will visit Washington on 01 December to meet with US President Donald Trump.
“President Trump looks forward to discussing the bilateral ties between the United States and Libya and reaffirming the United States’ support for the Government of National Accord, and commitment to helping the Libyan people realize a more stable, unified, and prosperous future,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, said yesterday in a statement. “The President and the Prime Minister will also discuss the importance of the political reconciliation effort being facilitated by the United Nations within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement, as well as counterterrorism cooperation and ways to expand bilateral engagement in several areas,” she added.
Mr Trump drew criticism from allies of the US and Libya when he said in April that he sees no role for the United States in Libya. “I do not see a role in Libya. I think the United States has right now enough roles. We’re in a role everywhere. So I do not see that. I do see a role in getting rid of ISIS. We’re being very effective in that regard. We are doing a job, with respect to ISIS, that has not been done anywhere near the numbers that we’re producing right now. It’s a very effective force we have. We have no choice. It’s a horrible thing to say, but we have no choice. And we are effectively ridding the world of ISIS. I see that as a primary role, and that’s what we’re going to do, whether it’s in Iraq or in Libya or anywhere else. And that role will come to an end at a certain point, and we’ll be able to go back home and rebuild our country, which is what I want to do,” he told reporters during a joint press conference with the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
So far the war on the Islamic State remains the only area in which the Trump administration has been working closely with the GNA which in last November joined the US-led Global Coalition against ISIS. This cooperation was manifest in the over 500 airstrikes conducted between August and December of last year by the US Africa Command as part of Operation Odyssey Lightning which resulted in driving the Islamic State from Sirte.