France is maintaining pressure on the Libyan parties to push for a political settlement, in continuation of the Celle Saint-Cloud summit in July, which brought together Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan armed forces, and Prime Minister of the National Accord Government, Fayez al-Sarraj, under the auspices of President Emmanuel Macron.
Last week, the Elysee Palace hosted technical meetings aimed at following up on recent developments in the Libyan file, according to French official sources.
On Thursday, Haftar arrived in Paris, where he met with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, to brief him on his latest talks in the Italian capital.
French diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Le Drian has stressed the need to abide by the agreements reached in Celle Saint-Cloud, namely the ceasefire and the holding of legislative and presidential elections next spring.
During the July summit, Sarraj and Haftar committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections under UN supervision.
Last week in New York, UN Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame underlined the primacy of the United Nations in any initiative to resolve the Libyan conflict. He noted that the multiplicity and dispersion of initiatives between Paris, Rome, and capitals of neighboring countries, would weaken the role of the UN and its envoy.
French sources stressed that the Paris diplomacy wanted to convey the same message to all parties, and believed that the circumstances today were “more appropriate” for the success of an international mediation than they were in the past.
During his trip to Italy earlier this week, Haftar met with a number of Italian political and security officials, who called on the army commander to disarm and abandon military action against the UN-backed government, and to participate in the country’s political process, according to local sources.