France’s President Emmanuel Macron wants to meet Libya’s renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar to push for a ceasefire and resume peace talks.
Macron last week called for a truce in the month-long battle for Libya’s capital Tripoli after meeting UN-recognised Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
Tripoli is home to the recognised administration but some European countries, such as France, have also supported the eastern commander Haftar as a way to fight armed groups in a country in chaos since the NATO-backed toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
A day after meeting Macron, the internationally recognised government asked 40 foreign firms, including French oil major Total, to renew their licences or have their operations suspended.
“The situation in Libya is extremely worrying because the proposed UN roadmap to both parties – and which almost reached a positive conclusion – has today failed on the one hand because of Field Marshal Haftar’s initiative and Sarraj’s non-initiative,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told legislators.
“It’s for this reason that the president wanted to meet one and the other to support the UN initiative.”
The French presidency said there was no meeting planned at this stage.