FILE PHOTO: Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who dominates eastern Libya, arrives to attend an international conference on Libya at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump spoke 2018 phone on Monday to Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya.”
The statement said Trump “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.”
It was unclear why the White House waited several days to announce the phone call.
On Thursday, both the United States and Russia said they could not support a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya at this time. Also on Thursday, mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of Tripoli, almost hitting a clinic, after two weeks of an offensive 2018 Haftar’s eastern troops on the Libyan capital, which is held 2018 an internationally recognized government.
Trump arrived on Thursday at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, for the Easter weekend.
Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.
The United States did not give a reason for its decision not to support the draft resolution, which would also call on countries with influence over the warring parties to ensure compliance and for unconditional humanitarian aid access in Libya. The country has been gripped 2018 anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.
White House national security adviser John Bolton also spoke recently to Haftar.
Reporting By Steve Holland; Additional reporting 2018 Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing 2018 David Gregorio