Senior U.S. Diplomat Sent to Libya Amid Political Turmoil

A burnt out vehicle is seen on the side of the road in Tripoli, Libya on May 19, 2014. Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images.

In the midst of a hostile takeover of the Libyan parliament over the weekend, the U.S. is sending a high-level official to help the political process there, a State Department official told ABC News.

Ambassador David Satterfield, who also directs the international monitoring force in the Sinai Peninsula, will keep that role even as he goes to Libya.

"Secretary of State Kerry requested that Ambassador David Satterfield travel to Libya to offer to help build political consensus at this challenging time in Libya's transition. He will continue to fulfill his duties as Director General of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO)," the official said.

It appeared that Satterfield was to get this additional assignment before the events of this weekend, in which forces loyal to retired Gen. Khalifa Hifter stormed the parliament building in Tripoli.

Kerry alluded to the new role during a press conference last Thursday when he spoke about the US, UK and Arab League's efforts to help the political transition in Libya.

"We are working collectively through a number of different envoys. The Arab League has an envoy, the - Great Britain has an envoy, we have an envoy - we will work in concert, and we task them, literally, to be working as one entity," Kerry said.

Satterfield previously served as a temporary head of the US embassy in Egypt after the departure of Ambassador Anne Patterson in August 2013. He served as the Chargé d'Affaires until January 2014 when Marc J. Sievers took over the role.