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Thursday, June 30, 2022

UK reopens its embassy in war-torn Libya after 8 years

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The United Kingdom reopened its embassy in Libya on Sunday after an eight-year hiatus. “This is a demonstration of the U.K.’s commitment to the whole of Libya. I am proud our work touches the lives of Libyans across the whole country already,” said Ambassador Caroline Hurndall on Twitter, highlighting that relations between the two countries are deep and historical. The U.K. had closed its diplomatic missions in Libya in 2014 amid intense armed clashes in the country. Oil-rich Libya plunged into turmoil after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. It then became divided between rival governments – one in the east, backed by putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar, and a United Nations-supported administration in the capital, Tripoli. Each side is supported by different militias and foreign powers. In April 2019, Haftar and his forces, backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched an offensive to try and capture Tripoli. His campaign collapsed after Turkey stepped up its military support for the U.N.-supported government. An October 2020 cease-fire deal led to an agreement on a transitional government in early February 2021 and elections were scheduled for last Dec. 24 aimed at unifying the country. But they were canceled and the country now has rival governments with two Libyans claiming to be prime minister.

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