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France Confirms Hosting Sarraj-Haftar Talks on Tuesday | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French President Emmanuel Macron waits for a guest on the steps at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Photo: Reuters

France confirmed that it will host talks on Tuesday between Fayez al-Sarraj, head of Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli, and Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army in the divided country’s east.

During the talks, President Emmanuel Macron aims to show France’s support for UN-backed efforts to stabilize the country, his office said in a statement.

Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper has already published reports that Sarraj, who heads the Government of National Accord (GNA), and Haftar will hold their third meeting together.

“France intends, through this initiative, to facilitate a political agreement” between the two rivals as the newly appointed UN envoy for Libya, Ghassam Salame, takes office, the Elysee Palace statement said.

Italian media has said that Salame, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), will attend the Paris meeting on Tuesday.

The two rivals held talks in Abu Dhabi in May, the first in more than a year and a half.

“I know Haftar is in Paris already, Sarraj is due to arrive soon. They are aiming for Tuesday,” a diplomatic source told Reuters over the weekend.

Macron wants France to play a more active role in tackling the Libyan crisis. The idea would be to bring Sarraj and Haftar into an agreement allowing the UN to implement a peace deal and set up elections.