The Wall Street Journal revealed that US officials are expected to visit Libya soon, with the aim of pressuring against the Russian presence in the country.
On the backdrop of news regarding Russia’s plans to expand its naval presence in the Mediterranean, the United States is concern about the Russian expansion in the region.
The Wall Street Journal stated that while the United States and Russia are competing for greater influence in Africa, Moscow is seeking the arrival of its warships to the Mediterranean ports in Libya, pointing out the possibility that this presence, if it occurs, will expand its maritime footprint in NATO’s backyard.
Senior Russian officials, including Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-bek Yevkurov, met with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in recent weeks to discuss long-term mooring rights in the areas he controls in the east of the country, according to what the newspaper reported, citing Libyan officials and advisors.
Likewise, Libyan officials and advisors said that the Russians requested access to the ports of Benghazi or Tobruk, noting that both ports are located less than 400 miles from Greece and Italy.
The Russian officials’ talks with Haftar came about access to the port at a time when the Russian Kremlin seeks to deepen its influence in Africa and overcome the United States.
The United States has recently been pressuring African countries to join the Western alliance aimed at to isolate Russia because of the war in Ukraine.
The Wall Street Journal explained in its report that a joint US diplomatic-military mission is expected to visit Libya later this September, with the aim of pressuring Haftar to expel Wagner’s forces, and to encourage him to unite his forces with those controlled by rival factions in the country.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that the commander of the US Africa Command, Michael Langley, and the US special envoy to Libya, Richard Norland, are expected to meet separately with both Haftar and the head of the internationally recognized Tripoli government, Abdul Hamid Dabaiba.