The Biden administration has named a new envoy for Libya ahead of the country’s planned elections later this year, signaling an intent to elevate American efforts to end foreign military involvement there and conclude a long period of post-revolution turmoil. Ambassador Richard Norland, who currently serves as U.S. ambassador to Libya, will take on the additional role as special envoy, officials said Monday. Since 2019, Norland has served as head of the U.S. mission to Libya, which is based in neighboring Tunisia for security reasons.

A State Department official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said the move is aimed at boosting U.S. support for Libya’s recently formed unity government, which is scrambling to navigate factional tensions, restore security and basic services and chart a path toward the elections, which are scheduled for Dec. 24.

The appointment also signals an intensification of American attempts, up to now unsuccessful, to persuade Turkey, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and other powers to end their roles in turning Libya into a major proxy conflict on Europe’s southern edge. Tens of thousands of foreign fighters are deployed in Libya in support of two rival factions, one based in Tripoli, the capital, and the other in the country’s east. Outside nations have also provided advanced weaponry including fighter jets, drones and air defense systems.