The French President has sought reconciliation between parties to the conflict in Libya

In Paris with the mediation of Emmanuel Macron, the leaders of the warring parties in the Libyan conflict agreed on a “roadmap” for a peaceful settlement

Faiz Sarraj, Emmanuel macron and Khalifa Haftar

(Photo: Philippe Wojazer / Reuters)

On Tuesday, July 25, the President of France Emmanuel macron met with representatives of the leading forces in the Libyan conflict. The talks, which took place in the suburbs of Paris, came to the head of the national consensus government of Libya (NTC) Faiz Sarraj and his opponent — General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the national army of Libya. The discussion was also attended by the Minister of foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian and the UN special envoy for Libya, Hasan Salam. Before the talks in the expanded format Makron held separate meetings with the Haftarot and Sarraj.

War can be avoided

The result of The negotiations was the agreement on a “road map” for overcoming the crisis and the conclusion of a truce between the conflicting parties, as reported by Makron in the final press conference. “I am confident that it is now impossible to believe that civil war is inevitable in Libya,” said macron (quoted by Reuters). Haftar and Sarraj agreed on the introduction of ceasefire. “In accordance with mezhliviysky political agreement and international treaties to protect the territory and sovereignty of Libya, we pledge to cease fire and to refrain from any use of the armed forces except in cases of terrorism and strongly condemn all threats to the stability of the territory”, — stated in the final statement, which was published by the French side.

Fragmented Libya as the country lives six years after the revolution

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The parties have also committed themselves to organize “as soon as possible” the presidential and parliamentary elections with the participation of UN observers. Elections may take place in spring 2018, said the Makron at the end of negotiations.

After the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011, Libya failed to establish a unified centre of power. In the West, in Tripoli, works created with the support of the UN, the government of national consent headed by Sarraj. It does not recognize elected in 2014, the house of representatives of Libya, known as the “government in Tobruk,” which supports a national army of Libya, led by General Khalifa the Haftarot. “The government in Tobruk” controls the East and partially South of the country. The haftarot support Egypt and the UAE. Russia maintains contacts both with the Haftarot and Sarraj, speaking for the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Khalifa Haftar after his meeting with Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov

(Photo: Maxim Shemetov / Reuters)

The last meeting of the Haftarot and Sarada took place in may of this year in Abu Dhabi. Before that, they met in the beginning of 2016. The talks in the UAE is not crowned with success: the joint official statement was never published, and clashes between supporters of the Haftarot and Saraga in the South of Libya has undermined diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.

Italy outraged

The ultimate goal of the French initiative is the creation of the state, “capable of responding to the fundamental needs of the Libyans held”, with a unified regular army under civilian control, said in a statement from the office of Macron, published on Monday. “We need to control Libyan territory and its borders to combat terrorist groups and traffickers and weapons in order to return to the stability of state institutions,” — said in a communique.

Paris argues that informed partners of Libya, including Algeria, Egypt and Italy, about the upcoming talks in Paris, gave an official statement of the press service of the French President Bloomberg.

However, according to Reuters, the French initiative caused discontent among the officials of Italy, which previously occupied a leading position in efforts to bring peace to its former North African colony. Italy is a major transit country for refugees arriving from North Africa across the Mediterranean to Europe.

The Minister of foreign Affairs of Italy Angelino Alfano said Tuesday in an interview with the newspaper La Stampa that he supports the initiative of the French President, noting that Italy, like France, supported the government in Tripoli (NTC) and is in constant contact with General Haftarot. However, according to him, in the Libyan conflict was “too many formats, intermediaries and initiatives from the Persian Gulf to Egypt, from Algeria to Tunisia, from the European Union to the interests of individual countries”. The Prime Minister stressed the need to unite efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict under the auspices of the UN and special envoy Salams. “If everyone would just take care of yourself, in the end we deprive him [Salam Hasan] legitimacy,” said Alfano.

Angelino Alfano

(Photo: Tony Gentile / Reuters)

Italian politicians questioned the statement of the press service of the Macron, which highlighted that the initiative of the French President is not a disrespect to Italy and not “exclude others” in the conflict. The opposition accused the Prime Minister of Italy Paolo Gentiloni that he allowed the French to oust Italy from the number of countries playing a leading role in resolving the Libyan conflict.

“The Libyan meeting, organized by the France… shows the complete failure of the [Italian] foreign policy,” — wrote on his Twitter page Georgia Meloni, the leader of the opposition nationalist party “Brothers of Italy — national Alliance”. According to her, the French initiative has taken away the traditional role of Italy as the main mediator in Libyan Affairs. “Macron wants to be more active in Libya. That’s fine, but he dismissed it. We were not consulted,” protested an anonymous representative of the Italian foreign Ministry in an interview with Reuters.

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