On July 25, the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, met in the castle of La Celle-Saint-Cloud, in the large park of Versailles, the representative of the presidential government of Tripoli, Fayez al-Sarraj and the Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, strongman of Cyrenaica. The meeting is the second attempt to pacify the two rival administrations, following the May 2, in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. The resolution, obtained at Paris's doorstep, pledges to abandon fighting to reach presidential political elections by 2018.


Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


To understand the importance of this meeting, it's good to spend two words on the current unsettled Libyan situation. 
The power, de facto, in the hands of the militias, is officially represented on one side  by Sarraj, up to now supported by the United Nations Organization; on the other, by Tobruch Board, actually controlled by General Haftar. In this fragmentary situation, all governments have been interested in a reunification of the country, each in its own way. Haftar, enjoys the political and military support of Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, but even if France and Russia are officially on side of Tripoli, is known their support to Haftar, already in the military coup of 2014 'Karama', that in Arabic means ‘dignity’, in the assault of the Libyan parliament's seat in Tripoli.


At the end of the diplomatic summit, which many have noticed the great lack of Italy, the two adversaries have said: "We are committed to a ceasefire and to avoid any use of armed force for any reason other than counter-terrorism ». The agreement also provides to the demobilization of militia fighters active in Libya, urging the formation of a legitimate army. The great absence of Italy and the lack of European co-ordination prompted doubts about this Parisian move, as the precedents for oil interests in the former Italian colony are widely documented. About the question, we asked the opinion of one of the leading experts in Libya and European policies in the South Mediterranean, Mattia Toaldo, Senior Policy Fellow at 'European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR.EU).


Toaldo on the issue confirmed to us: "the Paris meeting was seen in Italy as the result of specific French interests in Libya." He added: "It can be a 'return' diplomacy of France, brings with it, new contracts in Libya, but we don't know even in time to make a difference to Macron. "According to the expert," the Paris meeting is the result of the French convergence with the United Arab Emirates, major sponsor of Haftar. The summit gave Haftar international legitimacy that he didn't have before. "
The statement of an 'ambiguous ceasefire', which excludes anti-terrorism operations, Toaldo believes that "would leave a free hand militarily to Haftar and his Egyptian and Emirati allies".
 
On the prospect of elections, that would allow to Haftar also growing political ambitions, Toaldo is very sceptical: "It is unclear who should call the elections, because in Libya for every vote you must make a law, and the House of Representatives is not able to Legislation, because of the constant absence of the legal number. Any elections without a clear division of powers, or no guarantee of respect for the results, could lead to new violence, as it's happened in 2014. "
The expert concludes: "Only time will tell if Paris has found the key to the political process or has created a pretext for a new wave of violence".


What is certain, at the moment, it's the great idea of leadership for the young Emmanuel Macron, which since the election has shown willingness to reaffirm the 'Republique' as a power in the international arena.

Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share