French President Emmanuel Macron will receive the Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar next week, according to a Thursday Élysée statement.
The meeting will discuss recent escalations and alternative solutions to resume political discussions between all Libyan factions, the statement said.
This visit comes shortly after Haftar’s rival, head of the Government of the National Accord (GNA) Faiez al-Sarraj’s visit to Paris on May 8. Shortly after the meeting, Macron issued a statement affirming France’s stance aiming at halting violence in the capital. He also called for a “unconditional ceasefire” between fighting parties.
Haftar; however, hopes he will return from Paris with further support for his military operation in Tripoli, despite the French constant denials that the Élysée takes any sides in Libya.
In an interview last week with French newspaper Le Figaro, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has denied his country supports or is biased to the LNA.
“France has continuously supported Sarraj’s government. We have lent a great deal of support to the UN and with respect to security. He [Sarraj] knows this. I note that Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga, who regularly attacks France and denounces its alleged interference in the crisis, does not hesitate to spend time in Turkey. So, I don’t know where the interference is,” Le Drian said.
Le Drian added he didn’t talk with Haftar regarding his military offensive on Tripoli and that he told him that “there could be no military solution” for the Libyan conflict.