In a letter sent to Congress yesterday, US President Donald Trump has stated that he has extended sanctions placed on the family of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for another year “to protect against the diversion of assets”, citing the on-going conflict in the country as constituting an “extraordinary threat” to US national security and foreign policy. “Therefore, I have determined it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Libya,” he added.
In February 2011, the Obama administration issued Executive Order 13566 which froze Gaddafi’s assets along with those of his family, associates and senior officials within his government.
Since the overthrow and killing of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been subject to two rival governments or factions within the country: the General National Assembly (GNA) which controls most of the west including the key city of Tripoli, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) which controls the east and is led by the formerly-exiled Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Throughout the ongoing Libyan civil war, Turkey – along with the UN – has backed and militarily assisted the GNA.
The GNA on Tuesday suspended talks hosted by the UN to bring about a ceasefire over the battle for Tripoli after eastern forces shelled the capital’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker. The attack drew condemnation from the UN who has urged the parties to resume the talks.