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UN Libya envoy: France says Haftar has a role in fighting terrorism

April 30, 2019 at 9:35 am

UN Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame in Rome, Italy on 8 August 2017 [Riccardo de Luca/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, said yesterday that France supports the internationally-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, “but does not ignore the role of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar in the fight against terrorism”.

Salame told France Inter radio that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has informed him that he would support an attempt to stop the war in Libya.

On Wednesday, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Fayez Al-Sarraj, told France’s Liberation newspaper that his government was surprised that France supports a dictator instead of his government.

“When [French President] Emmanuel Macron contacted me [on 8 April], I told him that the public opinion in Tripoli was against France. We do not want the Libyans to hate France. France still has a positive and important role to play in Libya,” he added.

READ: France hampers EU calls to halt Haftar offensive in Libya

Later on Thursday, France reiterated its support for Al-Sarraj’s government and UN mediation for a comprehensive political solution in Libya.

Earlier this month, forces loyal to strongman Haftar launched a military offensive against the capital, Tripoli.

The Haftar military operation came days before the start of a UN-brokered conference aimed at resolving the Libyan crisis.

General Khalifa Haftar taking over Libya - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

General Khalifa Haftar taking over Libya – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]