WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined today by Senators Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in sending a letter calling on President Donald Trump to publicly express support for a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the ongoing crisis in Libya. The senators asked the President to reaffirm the United States’ historical position of promoting a negotiated, UN-backed political process.
Noting that there is “no military solution to the ongoing instability in Libya,” the senators urged President Trump to “publicly encourage and support a ceasefire, reaffirm support for the UN-led political process, and engage in high-level diplomatic pressure to encourage all sides to participate in a process that will lead to a sustainable civilian-led transition process and political framework that will best promote peace and stability for the Libyan people and safeguard American security and interests.”
Since the launch of the April 4 offensive by Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army, the conflict has killed nearly 400, injured over 1,700, and displaced more than 40,000 people in Libya.
A copy of the letter can be found here and below:
Dear Mr. President:
We write to express serious concern about the ongoing conflict and deteriorating situation in Libya. As you are aware, the Libyan people have been subjected to instability and a tenuous political situation for the better part of the past decade. Furthermore, regional actors have invested significant resources in support of various political actors and militias across the country, sometimes at cross-purposes with United States efforts. Instability in Libya has significant implications for regional security across North Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe.
We are troubled by the ongoing military offensive by Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army, and concerned that this campaign threatens civilians and could reignite a more violent civil war. Since the launch of the offensive on April 4, the conflict has killed nearly 400, injured over 1,700, and displaced more than 40,000 people. The United Nations warns that 3,000 detained migrants and refugees remain at risk in Tripoli and that further conflict will only exacerbate the growing humanitarian crisis, limit aid delivery, and spread chaos beyond the capital. In addition to the various organized militias, there remains serious concerns about terrorist threats coming from Libya.
Due to Libya’s complex security landscape, mitigating terrorist threats emanating from Libya requires an array of partnerships. While we should always be focused on addressing immediate threats to the United States, American citizens, and our allies, we must also consider our long term strategic objectives and ensure that our actions work to promote sustainable solutions. The United States has built a number of important partnerships in Libya, including a partnership with the Government of National Accord (GNA) that helped eliminate ISIS’ stronghold in Sirte in 2016, and in the region to address ongoing terrorism concerns and we must ensure that our actions sustain these critical partnerships.
As you are surely aware, the United States has invested significant political, diplomatic, and assistance resources to support the fragile, civilian-led, internationally-recognized Government of National Accord. History has repeatedly proven that stable, civilian-led governments prove the best partners and allies for the United States and across the world. To be sure, stability in Libya will require an inclusive political process. We strongly believe the United States should continue investing in efforts to integrate various stakeholders into a political process that can lead to lasting stability and peace for the people of Libya.
As with most complex geopolitical crises, there is no military solution to the ongoing instability in Libya. The United States has historically played in an important role in leading and supporting multi-stakeholder political processes. We urge you to publicly encourage and support a ceasefire, reaffirm support for the UN-led political process, and engage in high-level diplomatic pressure to encourage all sides to participate in a process that will lead to a sustainable civilian-led transition process and political framework that will best promote peace and stability for the Libyan people and safeguard American security and interests.