By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 31 August 2017:
French president Emmanuel Macron is following up on the July meeting he brokered between Faiez Serraj and Khalifa Hafter in the French capital, by sending his foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Libya.
Le Drian, who was previously defence minister under President Hollande, is expected to meet both the Presidency Council (PC) head and the armed forces commander-in-chief but Reuters has reported that Quai d’Orsay officials were giving no details of the trip for security reasons.
It is also possible that there may be some reluctance by both Serraj and Hafter to be chivied at this time.
In Paris on 25 July they both agreed to a ceasefire and the calling of elections as well as accepting that the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) had to form the basis of a final peaceful settlement.
Since then Bunyan Marsous (BM) forces, nominally under the command of the PC, have been manoeuvring around Sirte towards which Libyan National Army (LNA) units have also advanced. Both sides say that they are operating against terrorists of the so-called Islamic State who have regrouped south of Sirte. However, BM has been claiming that the terrorists have been working with the LNA. This, though, is at odds with today’s attack at Nufliya and the IS attack earlier this month on the LNA Fugha checkpoint between Abu Grain and Sebha in which nine soldiers and two passing civilians were butchered.
From what Le Drian told a group of French envoys in Paris today his mission is also going to be aimed at gaining the backing of other Libyan political leaders for the Serraj-Hafter agreement, which the two men sealed with a handshake rather than a flourish of their pens.