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Meeting between the two Libyan rivals, draft joint declaration

Ⓒ POOL/AFP – PHILIPPE WOJAZER – | French President Emmanuel Macron (center) receives
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (right) and Khalifa Haftar
(left) on 25 July 2017 in La Celle-Saint-Cloud

The Libyan enemy brothers Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar
met Tuesday in the Paris region under the aegis of Emmanuel
Macron before the adoption of a joint declaration in which they
should commit themselves to a ceasefire And quick elections to
get their country out of chaos.

Arrived in turn at the Celle-Saint Cloud, in a castle of the
French Republic in the Paris region, the two rivals first
interviewed separately with the French president.

They then sat around a table, side by side, facing their
host. The new UN envoy on Libya, Ghassan Salamé, and French
foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also attended the
meeting.

This should be completed with a joint declaration, the first
ever agreed by the two strong men of Libya. A draft ten-point
statement issued by the Elysée before the meeting called for a
ceasefire with the exception of the fight against terrorism and
the organization of elections “as soon as possible”.

Ⓒ AFP – Thomas SAINT-CRICQ – | Territory control in Libya

The text also reaffirms that only a political solution will
help to get out of the crisis, and reiterates the validity of
the Skhirat agreements signed in 2015 under the aegis of the
UN.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the nationally recognized
government (GNA), recognized by the international community,
and Khalifa Haftar, who disputes his legitimacy and accumulates
military gains on the ground, met earlier this month in Abu
Dhabi. Without any conclusive result.

Libya, a country rich in oil, has fallen into chaos since
Colonel Gaddafi’s fall at the end of 2011: several rival
authorities and myriads of militia are fighting for power, the
jihadist threat is still present, Human beings prosper. Not to
mention the involvement of rival regional powers in the
conflict.

– Human rights –

But, the Elysée repeats, the meeting between the two
protagonists is in itself a “strong signal”.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement, calling on the
French president “not to ignore the litany of abuses committed
by all parties in the Libyan conflict.” “Mr Macron should raise
the issue with Mr Sarraj and Mr Haftar and urge them to put an
end to arbitrary detentions in the areas they control,
extrajudicial killings and torture by their allies, ‘stresses
HRW.

The new French president has made the Libyan dossier one of
its priorities and endorsed the “pragmatic” line of its chief
of the diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian, former Minister of
Defense, which “takes into account the reality of the ground”
And considers Marshal Haftar as the main bulwark to the
jihadist threat. The death of three French soldiers a year ago
in Libya had revealed the commitment of Paris alongside
Haftar.

Thanks to his connections with several protagonists of the
crisis, in particular Egypt and the United Arab Emirates,
Marshal Haftar’s supporters, Le Drian made a regional tour as
soon as he arrived at the Quai d’Orsay to relaunch efforts on
Libya.

The French initiative, however, is cringing on the side of
Italy, the former colonial power in Libya and today on the
front line against migrants who land every day by hundreds from
the Libyan coast.

“There are too many formats open in
Libya, too many mediators, too many initiatives (…) it is
necessary to unify the efforts” around the emissary of the UN
Ghassan Salame, particularly deplored the leader Of the Italian
diplomacy Angelino Alfano in an interview at the Stampa.

“In this affair, we can not do anything without the other,”
tried to reassure the head of the French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le
Drian, who was in Rome Monday.

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