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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat

CIA Chief Meets Haftar, Dbeibah in Libya

CIA chief William Burns and GNU chief Abdulhamid al-Debibah meet in Tripoli. (Dbeibah's office)

US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns started an unannounced trip to Libya on Thursday. 

In his first official visit to the country, Burns met with Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi and then with the head of the interim government of national unity (GNU), Abdulhamid Dbeibah in Tripoli. 

According to a statement from Dbeibah’s office, the meeting was attended by Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush, and intelligence chief Hussein Al-Aeb. 

“During the meeting, Burns stressed the need to develop economic and security cooperation between the two countries, praising the state of stability and growth witnessed by Libya during the recent period,” said the statement. 

Dbeibah, for his part said: “The goal of the Government of National Unity is to stabilize Libya and find international support for elections to take place.” 

Burns' visit followed the surprise extradition last month of a former Libyan intelligence officer accused of making the bomb that exploded on a commercial flight above Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing all onboard and 11 people on the ground. 

In December, Washington announced that Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi, wanted by the United States for his role in bringing down the New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 since 2020, was in their custody and would face trial. 

His handover by Dbeibah's government raised questions of its legality inside Libya, which does not have a standing agreement on extradition with the United States. Dbeibah’s mandate remains highly contested after planned elections did not take place in late 2021. 

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