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News > France

Macron: No Bet on Both Sides, France Supports Sarraj in Libya

  • French president Emmanuel Macron and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 8, 2019.

    French president Emmanuel Macron and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 May 2019

President Emmanuel Macron ratified his country's support to the Tripoli-based National Unity Government established under a 2015 UN-sponsored agreement.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron Wednesday called for an unconditional truce in Libya as Marshal Khalifa Haftar continues his armed offensive against Tripoli's government led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj.

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"Recalling that there is no military solution to the Libyan conflict and to put an end to the military offensive launched towards Tripoli, the President of the Republic encouraged an unconditional ceasefire", an official statement from the French government noted after a meeting between Macron and Sarraj held at midday in Paris.

In order to protect the civilian population the French government also proposed the international community delimit a "ceasefire line" to prevent Haftar's bombing farther north toward Libya. Besides mentioning his country's willingness to foster a democratic process in Libya, Macron announced "to put in place" an assessment of the forces fighting in the country.

Previously, a similar proposal was made by the United Kingdom, which submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council for a ceasefire in Libya. However the initiative faced opposition from the United States. 

Currently, there are two 'de facto' authorities in Libya: the Tripoli National Unity Government, which was established under a United Nations agreement in 2015 and the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (ANL) government that has expanded its power from the eastern side of the country to almost all Libyan territory.

"Libya is being destroyed amidst terrorist attempts and Haftar’s resistance."

During the high-level meeting, which happened in the context of the Parisian celebrations of the Second World War's end, President Macron said his country does not bet "on both sides," that is, he denied rumors of an eventual French support for Haftar, which were commented by a Le Monde columnist Tuesday.

“France supports the National Unity Government, with which France will continue its cooperation," the official statement stressed.

Although Sarraj described the meeting as positive, he also urged France to "take a clearer stance" against Haftar in the future and added that "no one can doubt our efforts" in the fight against terrorism.

Asked if he was willing to resume talks with the leader of the military opposition, the Libyan PM said that Marshal Haftar can "no longer represent” eastern Libya.

"I told President Macron that we should find a serious political elite -academics, intellectuals- who are really representatives of the eastern side."

Up to now, the Libyan civil war has killed 443 people, injured another 2,110 and forced 60,000 to flee their homes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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