PARIS, (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron wants to meet Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar to push a ceasefire and resume peace talks, France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Macron last week called for a ceasefire in the month-long battle for Libya’s capital Tripoli after meeting U.N.-backed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.
Tripoli is home to the recognised administration but some European countries such as France have also supported eastern military commander Haftar as a way to fight militants in a country in chaos since the 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 U.N. 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 Serraj’s non-initiative,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers.
“It’s for this reason that the president wanted to meet one and the other to support the U.N. initiative.”
A French diplomatic source could not confirm when the meeting could take place or whether Paris’ objective was to bring the two men together as it has done twice previously.
The French presidency did not respond immediately.
(Reporting by John Irish; editing by Michel Rose)