Envoy says US in talks to remove foreign forces in Libya ahead of elections

Envoy says US in talks to remove foreign forces in Libya ahead of elections
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The U.S. special envoy for Libya, Richard Norland, said on Monday that Washington was in talks with Libya to withdraw foreign forces before the North African country holds elections in December.

"That will be a very important development and ... very impactful, but we're not suggesting that we have to wait until next year to try to make some progress," Norland said, according Reuters.

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenKuwaiti government bans unvaccinated citizens from traveling outside country Swastika found carved in State Department elevator Biden should reconsider planned reversal of bipartisan US policy on Jerusalem MORE is scheduled to travel to the Second Berlin Conference on Libya this week, Reuters noted.

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"There are negotiations underway with some of the key actors aimed at trying to remove some of the mercenaries, the foreign fighters," Norland said.

The Berlin meeting will go over proposals for a sequential withdrawal of foreign forces, particularly those of Russia and Turkey, The Guardian reported. Prior deadlines for withdrawals have been ignored.

Libya has been embroiled in chaos ever since a NATO-backed uprising removed former leader Moammar Gadhafi from power one decade ago, Reuters noted. Most territories are still being controlled by local armed groups, and major foreign powers have not pulled their fighters from the front lines.

In February, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, a Libyan businessman-turned-politician, was chosen to be Libya's interim prime minister, surprising many as he had been a long-time associate of Gaddafi. 

His appointment came after sponsored talks by the United Nations aimed at ending conflict in the country.