A group of US politicians has asked President Donald Trump‘s administration to clarify its policy on Libya, saying armed groups in the North African country were using confusion over the White House’s stance to justify engaging in conflict.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, eight members of the House of Representatives urged the White House to “clearly” reject a military offensive launched by Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar to seize the capital, Tripoli, from the country’s internationally recognised government.

Haftar, who is allied to a rival administration in the country’s east and is backed by US allies including the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, began the offensive on April 4, vowing to “cleanse” the capital of “terrorist groups”.

The US initially demanded an “immediate” halt to Haftar’s offensive, with Pompeo issuing a statement on April 7 opposing Haftar’s offensive.

But in late April, the White House issued another statement saying Trump and Haftar had spoken over the phone on April 15. During that call, Trump recognised Haftar’s “significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources,” the statement read.

In their Friday letter, the members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs said the “generic read-out” of Trump’s call with Haftar “has led to perceived uncertainty regarding the US position”.


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