US could offer support to Libyan government following Haftar assault
The US could support the Libyan government, a senior official in the UN-backed administration has said, as militia leader Khalifa Haftar continues his offensive on the capital Tripoli.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq said that he hopes the US will make greater efforts to establish a diplomatic breakthrough between the two sides.
This comes after President Donald Trump sowed confusion in April when he spoke to Haftar by telephone and praised his role in "fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources".
Maiteeq said that despite this, he believes Washington supports the Tripoli-based government.
"Before I came here, there were a lot of rumors about the US not supporting our government," Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq said after talks in Washington with lawmakers and the State Department.
"I'm coming back home with a different message - that the US is standing by us as the legitimate government of Libya."
Despite the optimistic tone struck by Maiteeq, the US State Department made more guarded comments about the visit.
It comes as Haftar's offensive on the capital, launched in April, stalls on the outskirts of Tripoli after more than 600 people were killed.
A State Department official said Washington wants Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army and the Government of National Accord [GNA] to find a political solution to the crisis.
The US is "consulting with a broad range of Libyan leaders, as well as our international partners, to press for stabilization and bring Prime Minister al-Sarraj and General Haftar back to the negotiating table", the official said on condition of anonymity.
Maiteeq said he has requested Washington use its influence to end international support for Haftar, who is backed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
"We are not seeking any monetary or military or financial support from the United States. We need strong diplomatic help and leadership," he said.
"The United States has a lot of friends and allies in the region, and these friends and allies of the United States are interfering in Libyan matters heavily and strongly," he said.
"We want the United States to send a clear message to these countries that they should stay out of Libya."
Libya has been in a state of war since the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.