By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US said Tuesday it is "deeply troubled" by escalating hostilities in Libya, warning intensification "will only deepen and prolong the conflict."
Robert O'Brien, US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, said efforts to escalate the conflict risk the collective security interests Washington and its allies in the Mediterranean.
"We strongly oppose foreign military involvement, including the use of mercenaries and private military contractors, by all sides," O'Brien said in a statement. "The ongoing efforts of foreign powers to exploit the conflict – for example, by establishing an enduring military presence or exerting control over resources that belong to the Libyan people – pose grave threats to regional stability and global commerce."
Libya has been mired in strife since NATO operations led to the overthrow of former strongman Muammar Gadaffi in 2011.
The new government was founded four years later in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement have so far failed due to a military offensive by renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
Since April 2019, Haftar's forces have launched attacks on Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including civilians. Haftar has the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia while the UN-recognized government is backed by Turkey.
O'Brien said following's Trump discussions with multiple world leaders regarding the conflict "it is clear there is no 'winning' side."
"As an active, but neutral, actor, the United States is pursuing a 360 degree diplomatic engagement with Libyan and external stakeholders across the conflict to find a solution that supports Libyan sovereignty and protects the shared interests of the United States, our allies, and partners," he said.
"To that end, we call on all parties – both those responsible for the current escalation and those working to end it – to enable the National Oil Corporation to resume its vital work, with full transparency, and to implement a demilitarized solution for Sirte and al-Jufra, respect the UN arms embargo, and finalize a ceasefire under the UN-led 5+5 military talks," he added.