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Tillerson Visits London For Talks On North Korea, Libya

Thursday, September 14, 2017

MATTHEW PENNINGTON ,  Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in London for talks Thursday on international efforts to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs, and on the chaos in Libya.

Tillerson was meeting first with senior British and French officials. All three nations are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council which this week approved new sanctions to punish Pyongyang's Sept. 3 atomic test, its largest to date.

The officials will also discuss the response to Hurricane Irma that has caused havoc in the southeastern United States and the Caribbean.

They will then discuss the upheaval in Libya with representatives from the U.N., Italy, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Brian Hook, State Department director of policy planning, said the aim of the meeting was give impetus to U.N.-mediated efforts to restore unity in Libya.

Libya sank into chaos following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled former dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Today it is split between rival parliaments and governments in the east and west, each backed by a set of militias, tribes and political factions.

Hook said that despite the divisions there is broad agreement on the need to prepare for 2018 elections, and to finalize a constitution. He said the "big goal" is to avoid factions resorting to military action to shortcut the political process.

It is Tillerson's second visit to Britain since taking office in February. His first meeting Thursday was with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Before returning to Washington, Tillerson is due to address a press conference with his British counterpart Boris Johnson.