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France Seeks to Rescue Mediation in Libya by Convincing Haftar to Recognize Skhirat Agreement

France Seeks to Rescue Mediation in Libya by Convincing Haftar to Recognize Skhirat Agreement

Friday, 22 December, 2017 - 06:45
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a joint news conference with Libya's Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala, in Tripoli, Libya, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian conducted a surprise visit to the Libyan capital on Thursday, before heading to the eastern city of Benghazi in a new attempt to convince the commander of the Armed Forces, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar to reverse his decision on the Skhirat Agreement, signed two years ago under UN auspices.

Haftar announced on Sunday the expiry of the 2015 Skhirat Agreement and the end of the tenure of the UN-backed National Accord Government chaired by Fayez al-Sarraj.

The agreement, signed on December 17, 2015 in Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations, stipulated the formation of a consensual government for a year-term, renewable only once.

The UN Security Council has stressed, however, that the Skhirat Agreement should remain the only framework to resolve the current crisis in Libya, until the holding of the general elections next year.

From Tripoli, following his meeting with Sarraj, Le Drian underlined his country’s keenness to achieve security and stability in Libya and to implement the political agreement and the roadmap presented by UN envoy Ghassan Salame.

He called for the fast implementation of the United Nations plan, which provided a national dialogue and elections in 2018 to get the country out of chaos.

“This time plan is the political solution that is inevitable for Libya and must be implemented now as soon as possible,” he stated.

After his meeting with Haftar in Benghazi, the French foreign minister said: “I told him (Haftar) that you have no alternative to (the UN plan).”

He noted that both Haftar and Sarraj have stressed their commitment to the holding of the elections.

“You must put yourself at the service of your country,” Le Drian said he told the Libyan army commander. “I’m relatively optimistic about what happens next,” he added.

According to a statement issued by Sarraj, the French minister underlined his support for holding the elections and mobilizing all efforts for their success.

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