US wants to reopen embassy in Libya

The United States wants to reopen an embassy in Libya - a decade after suspending operations there – as Russia maintains an influential foothold in the country.

In the State Department’s fiscal year 2025 request, the agency asks for $12.7 million “to enable a potential resumption of embassy operations in Libya, providing operational expenses for a planned Diplomatic Travel and Support Operations Facility as well as increased utilization of dedicated aircraft stationed in Malta for flights to Tripoli.”

“With Russia’s influence rising on NATO’s southern flank, U.S. presence with trips into Libya is vital to preserving our long-term security interests,” the budget request states.

A State Department official said Monday that the US is in “active negotiations for an interim facility that would provide appropriate security and staffing support” in the capital city of Tripoli.

The move to reopen a US diplomatic compound in Libya comes as Moscow holds significant influence in the country.

“[A] number of countries are at the tipping point of actually being captured by the Russian Federation as they are spreading some of their false narratives across Libya and from a strategic answer piece, access and influence across the whole Maghreb,” Marine Corps Gen. Michael Langley, the head of US Africa Command, warned last week. “That is NATO’s southern flank. We need to be able to have — maintain access and influence across the Mahgreb, from Morocco all the way to Libya.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted in a statement Monday that the budget also requests “$3.9 billion for Diplomatic Security and related programs will protect U.S. diplomatic operations abroad, including our expanded presence in the Indo-Pacific, Libya, and Eastern Caribbean.”

The embassy in Tripoli suspended operations in July 2014 due to civil unrest, roughly two years after the attack on US facilities in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in that attack.

The US continues to advise citizens not to travel to Libya “due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.”

CNN’s Haley Britzky contributed reporting.

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