Monday 24 July 2017 - 07:34

France plans to legitimize Libya rebel commander Haftar: Sources

Story Code : 655680
This file photo taken on December 03, 2016 shows Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (AFP photo)
This file photo taken on December 03, 2016 shows Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (AFP photo)
A diplomatic source said Sunday that Macron was planning to meet Haftar, who is reportedly in Paris for talks with the head of Libya’s government next week, an encounter the source said could help bring around the commander by offering him "some form of legitimacy".
The source said Macron wanted France to play a more active role in tackling the crisis in Libya; a country plagued by militancy six years after the ouster and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Ghaddafi.
The source said recognizing the authority and influence of Haftar would allow Government of National Accord (GNA) to implement a 2015 the United Nations-backed peace agreement.
It also revealed that GNA head and Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj will arrive in Paris for talks with Haftar in the coming days.
“I know Haftar is in Paris already, Serraj is due to arrive soon. They are aiming for Tuesday,” said the source, adding that Macron will also hold a meeting with Serraj. 
There was no official confirmation from the French government that the meetings on Libya would take place. GNA officials have yet to comment on the peace talks between Serraj and Haftar in Paris. However, Libyan local media have cited a Libyan government source saying Serraj would arrive in Paris on Tuesday. 
 Haftar served as a senior military commander during the time of Gaddafi. Enjoying strong support from regional governments, including from Libya’s neighbor Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Haftar has consistently refused to accept GNA’s legitimacy. This comes as governments like Algeria and Tunisia support an inclusive and political approach to the Libyan crisis and want Haftar to disarm. Haftar forces have managed to gain grounds in eastern Libyan territories over the past months
France, along with Britain, are repeatedly blamed for the crisis in Libya as the two contributed to the NATO military alliance’s limited military operation which helped topple Gaddafi in 2011.