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  • French President Emmanuel Macron

    French President Emmanuel Macron | Photo: reuters

Published 9 April 2019
Opinion

Members of the European Union are fighting over energy resources in Libya, particularly France and Italy.

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, made a series of strong accusations against French President Emmanuel Macron. The member of the Italian political party 'Forza Italia' stressed that the French president is "committing a historical and dramatic mistake" in Libya. 

Previously, Deputy Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini accused France of direct involvement in the recent conflict in Libya. Salvini argued that France is bombing rebel forces in Chad under the pretext of the 'G-5 Sahel'institutional framework, in order to provide an advantage to warlord Khalifa Haftar, who is inching towards Libya's capital, Tripoli. 

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France has one particular interest in the war and Libya itself, which is Oil. The oil fields in al-Wafaa and al-Feel, which have previously been exploited by the Italian company Eni, stand abandoned. With their silent support to Khalifa Haftar, France bets on privileged rights in the country's energy sector. This stands in direct competition with Italian interests. 

It should come as no surprise that French President Emmanuel Macron visited his counterpart in Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, at the end of January. Sisi is the greatest ally to Haftar and has provided military support for his forces. 

The democratic development in Libya, an incredibly slow process since NATO forces bombed the country to ashes, is also a threat. General elections were set for 2019, preferably June, but with recent developments, it might not happen and with Haftar taking power, the country might turn into a dictatorship. One that is willing to sell out its vast resources to western countries. 

The Russian Federation on the other hand, which signed several energy agreements with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has declared its neutrality in the conflict. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asked the European parties to use their influence in the country to motivate the warring parties to take a seat at the negotiating table and make a peaceful transition possible, in the interest of all. 

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