Libyan Official Confirms US Entry Visas, US Quickly Denies

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Libyan Official Confirms US Entry Visas, US Quickly Denies
Libyan Official Confirms US Entry Visas, US Quickly Denies

Mohamed Al Dharrat, the Special Envoy for Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU), headed by Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba in the United States (US), voiced his apology for publishing a report on an agreement signed between the Tripoli-based government and Washington regarding granting Libyan nationals entry visas to the US.

“I apologize for publishing information on the agreement to grant Libyan nationals entry visas to the US,” Al-Darrat said in a Facebook post.

“This was a mistake on my part to report this before the appropriate government entities communicated on this,” he added.

A few hours earlier, the US Embassy in Libya denied rumors published by the Libyan diplomat regarding entry visa facilities for Libyan travelers to the US, saying that the reports that changes have gone into effect are untrue.

On Saturday, the GNU’s special envoy to the US claimed that an agreement has been reached between the GNU and the American authorities.

“The agreement allows Libyan nationals to receive 12-month multiple entry visas to the US at no cost. This applies to students, tourists, officials, businessmen, and representatives on an assignment,” the Libyan diplomat added.

“At this time there are no changes to announce regarding visas for Libyan travelers to the US. Reports that changes have gone into effect are untrue. Please refer to the US Embassy website for current requirements,” the US Embassy tweeted on Sunday.

Al-Darrat won the 2012 elections for Misrata, and chaired the Finance Committee at the General National Congress Elections in Libya, in addition to heading the National Front for the Salvation of Libya party.

Observers accused him of supporting the rebel attack on the city of Bani Walid and playing a role in the scheme aimed to overthrow late Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and prevent him from forming his government.

Al-Darrat was close to Mohammed Al-Megarif, the former Head of the National Congress, and one of the founders of the National Front Party.

According to local sources he also had a major role in signing a $2 million contract, in the name of the former Libyan government headed by Fayez Al Sarraj, with the Mercury Public Affairs Company, as his daughter Asmaa Al-Megarif was the Deputy Head of the US Company. This shows a clear sign of the corruptive policies adopted by the Libyan diplomat.

In 2016, according to local media reports, Al-Darrat was able, with the help of an armed group, to control the headquarters of the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP) in Tripoli.

After that, he held a meeting with the LAIP’s staff in his capacity as its General Manager, claiming that he derived his legitimacy from the Head of the Steering Committee, while the LAIP’s Chairman at that time Mohsen Derregia fled after the attack of Al-Darrat-affiliated armed men.