By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 8 June 2017:
Misrata Municipal Council postponed today’s visit by the French ambassador Brigitte Curmi because of fears for her safety.
The municipality said on social media that while it recognised the importance of the visit “with our institutions and entities” it needed to be postponed over security concerns.
The Libya Herald has been told that Curmi has rescheduled her Misrata trip for next week. Yesterday, however, she was able to go to Zintan for talks with local leaders.
Meanwhile, French foreign minister Yves Le Drian was in Cairo today to see Egyptian president Fateh El-Sisi. Libya was a key part of their talks.
Le Drian said: “Egypt is the central element for regional stability and when it sways the whole region sways”.
In his previous role as defence minister under former President François Hollande, Le Drian pushed for greater cooperation with Khalifa Hafter and his Libyan National Army (LNA).
In the past France has provided the LNA with a degree of intelligence and technical support and is believed to be more receptive to Hafter than other western powers.
Earlier this week Le Drian was in Tunis for a meeting with his Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui.
He told reporters that France supported a political solution based on the Skhirat agreement that maintained Libya’s territorial integrity with strong state institutions.
A French foreign ministry commenting on the LNA’s takeover of Jufra, underlined the need for a political settlement.
“As Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed in Tunis, there can be no military solution in Libya,” it said, “France is committed to a political solution achieved through dialogue: this is the goal of the political process being conducted under UN auspices.”
The new French president Emmanuel Macron appears to have pushed Libya up his list of priorities since his inauguration last month.
During a recent call with Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj, Macron underlined his support for the UN-backed government and said he wanted to move the French embassy back to Tripoli when security conditions improved.