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France commends the Libyan National Army’s ‘great progress’ in the south

French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian in Brussels, Belgium on 19 February 2019 [Thierry Monasse/Getty Images]
French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian in Brussels, Belgium on 19 February 2019 [Thierry Monasse/Getty Images]

The French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian lauded the “great progress” made in southern Libya by Libya’s National Army Chief Marshal Khalifa Haftar, pointing out at the same time that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis.

Le Drian said during a visit to the Libyan capital Tripoli that “significant progress has been made in the south of the country in countering terrorist groups, organised crime groups and foreign armed groups, which have heightened instability in the region for a long time,” according to AFP.

In May 2018, Paris hosted an important meeting which brought together Haftar and the Head of the Libyan Government of National Accord, Fayez Al-Sarraj. Both parties pledged to hold elections on December 10, 2018, but this was not achieved.

Haftar and Al-Sarraj met again in Abu Dhabi last month, where they agreed to “end the transition phase” in Libya “through general elections.”

READ: Libya agrees $34 billion budget for 2019 after months of disputes

Le Drian said after meeting Al-Sarraj in Tripoli that “France hopes that this agreement will be implemented quickly within the spirit of national harmony and cooperation.”

He also reiterated his country’s support for political solutions in Libya and that there is no military solution to the current crisis, according to a statement by the Information Office of Al-Sarraj.

Le Drian also pointed to his country’s support for the plan of the UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salama, which will work on unifying the state institutions to reach presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of the year, as stated in the Paris Agreement.

For his part, Al-Sarraj said that the recent consultative meeting with Haftar, in Abu Dhabi, came within the framework of his meetings with all Libyan parties to discuss ways of solving the current crisis.

Al-Sarraj stressed that the solution “is not owned by one party only, but it is necessary to involve all Libyans until we reach the desired stability,” through submitting consensual proposals that can be built upon during the inclusive Libyan National Congress.

READ: Libyans fear showdown as eastern commander eyes capital

He hoped that the “negative interventions” of some countries, which have caused the prolongation and complexity of the crisis, will stop without specifying those countries.

The UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salama and Le Drian discussed the latest developments in the political process facilitated by the United Nations in Libya and the preparations for holding the Libyan National Forum in Tripoli. Salama thanked Le Drian for the French contribution to support three UN projects in Libya.

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