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Macron and Merkel refuse to support Al-Sarraj

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Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at International Conference on Libya at the Elysee Palace in Paris
Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at International Conference on Libya at the Elysee Palace in Paris

Libya’s internationally recognized government said Monday that Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj will tour Europe to seek support against an attack on Tripoli by strongman Khalifa Haftar, who urged his troops to “wipe out” government forces.

Sarraj heads the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.

The “last-chance tour” to Berlin and Paris was a complete disaster, Africa Intelligence news website reports.

Instead of commending the military operation of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tripoli, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron formally asked Al-Sarraj to return to the agreement announced in Abu Dhabi in February last year.

The agreement provides for the organization of new elections and consecrates Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar as a key player in all settlement negotiations.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) meets Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (L) at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on May 8, 2019.
Christophe Ena, AFP | French President Emmanuel Macron (R) meets Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (L) at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on May 8, 2019.

According to Africa Intelligence, this German-French position represents a new support for Field Marshal Haftar, noting that on May 3, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash, together with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, called for a return to and implementation of the Abu Dhabi agreement.

As a response, Libya’s internationally recognized government asked 40 foreign companies, including French oil major Total, to renew their licences or have their operations suspended, pressuring Europe to stop an eastern military offensive against Tripoli.

The companies have three months to renew their licences, the economy and industry ministry said in a decree, after an earlier statement by an official saying their operations had been suspended.

Tripoli is home to the recognized administration, but some European countries such as France and Germany have also supported eastern military commander Haftar as a way to fight militants in a country in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The general also enjoys the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

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