As France seeks to keep it self involved and effective in the Libyan conflict, President Emmanuel Macaron received the Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar Wednesday to discuses the recent escalations of the Tripoli operation.
According to an Élysée statement, Haftar denounced during the meeting Macaron’s suggestion to reach a ceasefire with the Government of National Accord (GNA) forces; a temporary solution all international parties have been pushing for it since before the holy month of Ramadan.
Haftar explained that the current situation in Libya is “not conducive” to reach a ceasefire.
The ceasefire solution is not just refused by the LNA commander, but also by GNA head Faiez al-Sarraj, who underscored that no ceasefire will be agreed upon until LNA forces retreat to their positions before April 4.
This visit comes shortly after Haftar’s rival, Sarraj, went to Paris May 8. Shortly after the meeting, Macron issued a statement emphasizing France’s stance aiming at halting violence in the capital. He also called for an “unconditional ceasefire” between fighting factions.
In an interview earlier in May with French newspaper Le Figaro, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian 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.