Bashagha is the latest in top Libyan visitors to Washington – Al Marsad

Libya, 13 February 2019 – The Presidency Council’s interior minister Fathi Bashagha has become the third prominent member of the UN-supported Tripoli political establishment within a week to turn up in Washington for talks.  Fast on the heels of State Council president Khaled al-Mishri and then PC’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Siala, Bashagha arrived in the US capital on Monday, 11 February.

Khaled al-Mishri was there for a number of speaking engagements as well as talks with US officials last week. Siala flew to Washington for the meeting on 6 February of the Global Coalition to defeat Daesh, but he also met with US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Francis Fannon, as well as with the acting US Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs, Kathryn Wheelbarger and with  the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Africa), Cyril Sartor.

(Photo: Tripoli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Media Office)

In meetings in the US capital with the state and defence department officials,  Bashagha has so far discussed cooperation with the US on demining in Libya as well combating terrorism, illegal migration and trafficking, border security, international drug control, law enforcement and human rights, plus various training programmes provided by the US to Libya.

Bashagha in Washington with US Ambassadior to Libya Peter Bodde (Photo: Tripoli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Media Office)

Many of the same issues were discussed with Siala during his meetings with senior US officials. He also, however, discussed cooperation on oil and gas exploration and production, and renewable energy with Fannon.  Connected to this, Libya was invited to the energy industry conferences in Houston in mid-March.

The three Libyan visits to the US capital in the space of one week are not seen as accidental. They also coincide with the publication of a 23-page report on the situation in Libya by the prestigious US research centre, the Brookings Institution. It calls for a new US approach to Libya based on “reinvigorated American engagement”.