Libya's interim government on Wednesday announced it would ban entry of US citizens into Libyan territory in response to a decision by US President Donald Trump to suspend the entry of Libyans.
The eastern government called in a statement the move by the United States a "serious escalation" targeting Libyans, accusing the United States of placing Libyans "in the same place with terrorists, whom the Libyan armed forces are fighting with the help of the Libyan people."
It added that the escalation by the United States leaves one choice to the interim government to apply reciprocity by banning the entry of US citizens into Libyan territory.
The US Embassy to Libya on Monday announced that entry of Libyan nationals to the United States has been suspended for security reasons.
The embassy said Libya faces significant challenges in "sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States."
It also said Libya has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols.
The Libyan interim government, headed by Abdullah Thani, has been appointed by the eastern House of Representatives, and is allied with the eastern army commanded Major General Khalifa Haftar.
Thani's government controls eastern and southern Libya, as well as a part of the west. The rest of the country is dominated by the UN-backed government of national accord.