Hafter rejects Macron call for unconditional ceasefire

By Sami Zaptia.

London, 23 May 2019:

Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, Khalifa Haftar, rejected calls for a ceasefire in the Tripoli fighting during his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris yesterday. Hafter was reported to have said that he was willing to negotiate a ceasefire ‘‘if certain conditions are met’’. These conditions were not made public.

Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and their various allied forces launched an attack on Tripoli on 4 April with a view of overwhelming the capital’s militias and taking control of the city. However, so far, Hafter’s forces have been successfully repelled to the outskirts of Tripoli by the forces allied to Faiez Serraj and his internationally-recognized government.

The Macron-Hafter meeting was reported by French media to have been held behind closed doors and comes two weeks after Macron Paris meeting with Faiez Serraj the head of Libya’s Presidency Council and Government of National Accord.

It also comes on the back of a meeting last Tuesday in Tunis between French ambassador, Béatrice le Fraper du Hellen, and Serraj’s Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, during which the two countries had agreed on ‘‘several special security topics in the field of counter-terrorism, organized crime and civil defence, as well as economic crimes and money laundering’’.

At the meeting, the Serraj government had reported du Hellen as expressing the ‘‘gratitude ‘’of the French Government to the Government of National Accord as ‘‘the legitimate government of Libya, and fully supported it as representing the Libyan people as a whole, which is the main legitimate source for the conclusion of conventions and laws with them’’.

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