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France’s Macron wants to meet Libya’s Haftar to push ceasefire

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.

Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) have struggled to maintain momentum in the advance on Tripoli, faced with a counter-offensive by troops aligned with Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA).

The GNA has previously rejected any ceasefire unless Haftar pulls his troops back to the areas they held before the April 4, in the south and east of the country.

The weeks of fighting have killed more than 430 people and wounded at least 2,110 others, while displacing more than 55,000, the World Health Organization said.

 

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