France rejects efforts to exclude Haftar from the political process |


PARIS – Frenchmen send messages that they are not prepared to exclude the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Marshal Khalifa Haftar from the future of Libya, contrary to what Turkey and its Islamist allies advocate.French Defense Minister Florence Barley defended Haftar in press statements on Sunday, saying that the Libyan commander had previously played a leading role in the fight against terrorism and the defeat of Islamic State in the is from the country. Barley’s statement comes as Turkey explicitly strives to push Haftar out of the political process, while Western countries supporting the Islamist-backed National Accord Government (GNA), such as the United States, the Great -Brittany and Italy, put pressure on its allies to abandon it.

While denying having provided any military support to the ANL, France has repeatedly provided political support to the ANL by blocking the European Union’s efforts to condemn it.

Barley’s statement in favor of Haftar reflects Paris’ continued support for the LNA, which controls the strategically important city of Sirte which France considers to be a bridge between Europe and Africa in addition to the oil fields in the south from the Fezzan region and ports and oil fields to the east.

The GNA, meanwhile, is using allegations that the ANL committed war crimes during its year-long campaign to take control of the capital Tripoli as a means of pressuring the West to ‘he abandons Haftar.

Although no clear evidence has been provided against the ANL and investigations have not yet been launched, the unverified allegations have been accepted as facts by Turkey, the United States Department of State and the mission of the United Nations in Libya, led by the American diplomat Stephanie Williams, accused of favoring the Islamists. The ANL responded on Tuesday with the announcement that it had compiled a complete GNA war crimes archive.

The French minister’s statement also came as the U.S. Embassy in Libya threatened to isolate and punish Haftar because of the ANL’s decision to block oil exports and to call for creation a separate account for oil revenues to be deposited to prevent embezzlement and funding of Syrian mercenaries and purchase of Turkish weapons.

The embassy said it remained committed to continuing to work “to protect Libya’s sovereignty, achieve a lasting ceasefire and support a Libyan consensus on transparent management of oil and gas revenues.” He warned that “those who undermine the Libyan economy and cling to military escalation will face isolation and the risk of sanctions.”

The US Embassy statement also did not recognize the ANL. Instead, he said he would work with the Libyan parliament in Tobruk, which supports the ANL and the GNA. Europe seems to oppose this strategy, however, as was made clear when Germany sent its ambassador to Libya, Oliver Owcza, to Benghazi to meet Haftar.

The position of the American Embassy has angered many Libyans, some users of social networks launching the hashtag “the United States supports terrorism” to express their dissatisfaction.

The United States’ alleged support for Islamist factions in Libya has been criticized on several occasions since the fall of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In 2018, Stephanie Williams, then US charge d’affaires in Libya, met with senior Libyan politicians to call on the oil fields to return to control of the GNA.

The recent measures taken by Williams have particularly provoked the authorities in eastern Libya. The East-based foreign minister asked in a statement on Sunday: “How does the special representative of the UN secretary-general gather her information from unreliable sources and pages on social networks funded by armed terrorist and criminal groups or by foreign parties who wish to destabilize security and stability in Libya? ”

The UN mission in Libya recently said that 81 civilians and 57 others died in the ANL’s mine explosions south of Tripoli, indicating that factions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya are trying to raise questions. of human rights to turn the West against their adversaries.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also joined the fray, demanding Monday that Haftar be excluded from political negotiations and threatening to wage a battle against the ANL in Sirte.

The Turkish Foreign Minister stressed that a ceasefire would not serve the interests of the GNA, since Haftar was unlikely to respect the agreement and would only use it as a form of self-protection.

Cavusoglu said that Haftar was simply trying to keep power and did not have a clear political roadmap for after the ceasefire.

Turkey knows it is unable to reap the benefits of the fighting in Libya until it controls the oil sector and thwarts France’s plans to control Sirte.

Khalifa Haftar shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron after the participants in the International Conference on Libya listened to a verbal agreement between the different parties concerning the organization of a democratic election this year at the Palais de l’Elysée in Paris, France, May 29, 2018. (Reuters)

The Turkish foreign minister said the United Nations has asked member states to sit with the GNA and cut ties with the rest of the Libyan parties – referring to the ANL and the Tobruk-based parliament. He said that “what France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are doing is opposed to Security Council resolutions” and that France, which is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, must recognize this.

He said Haftar would have to withdraw from Sirte under the Skhirat agreement and mentioned a possible meeting between different ministers to discuss the issue.

“We want a ceasefire and we believe that a political solution is the only option,” he said. “It’s been our position from the start. But because the other side thinks and evolves differently, we have taken the necessary measures. The political solution is the only option and we are ready for it, but the necessary conditions must be met for a cease-fire and the launching of the political process. “


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