Libya's former ambassador to the UAE, Aref Al-Nayed, met with officials from the US National Security Council during two meetings held in Washington this fall, according to the site Defense One.
In an e-mail sent to the US Web site, Nayed said his visit to Washington touched upon "detailed plans to form a government of national unity and hold general presidential elections within 18 months of the liberation of Tripoli."
A State Department official declined to comment on the meetings, saying only that Washington was "engaged in extensive contacts with a variety of Libyan stakeholders to promote progress towards a just economic and political solution to the conflict in Libya."
The American website described Al-Nayed as "an Islamic scholar presenting himself as a transitional political leader to Libya after Hifter liberates Tripoli." Al-Nayed also submitted documents regarding his recent meetings with US officials.
Defense One quoted a former US official who called the secret meetings "unusual". "He has great relations with businessmen, he has credibility, but he does not have the support of voters who can vote for him in Libya," the official noted.
"The meetings indicate at least that the Trump administration is considering its options with regard to Libya," Libyan analysts and former National Security Council officials told Defense One.
“It signals that the administration is now more active, which you saw last week with the statement out of the State Department, but they are searching for different political strategy,” said Ben Fishman, a former Libya director on the NSC under President Barack Obama . “They understand that the GNA has limited authority and they understand Hifter’s limitations as well.”