US' Pompeo, UAE FM discuss Russian presence in Libya
Diplomats 'discussed the need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior,' says State Dept.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Friday with Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates to discuss Russian military presence in Libya.
"Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Al Nahyan discussed the need to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior," said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus in a statement about the meeting in Washington.
The two men also discussed the situation in Libya, including "Russian presence and the urgent need for de-escalation, a ceasefire, and a political solution."
Last week, Ortagus urged Libyan National Army forces, led by commander Khalifa Haftar, to halt their offensive in the war-torn North African nation.
"Today, the U.S-#Libya Security Dialogue launched in Washington D.C. We call on the ‘Libyan National Army’ to end its offensive, facilitate U.S.-Libya cooperation, & prevent Russia’s attempts to exploit the conflict," Ortagus said on Twitter.
Russia denies any military presence in the oil-rich country that has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a NATO-backed uprising after four decades in power.
Libya has since seen the emergence of two rival seats of power, including one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based Government of National Acoord, which enjoys UN recognition.
"They also discussed the importance of Gulf Cooperation Council unity," said Ortagus.
Pompeo offered condolences for the death of his counterpart’s brother, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who reportedly died while undergoing treatment abroad.
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