US, Libyan government discuss disbanding militias

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 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 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.




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