(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Standing beside French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris this week, Khalifa Haftar, the most powerful military leader in eastern Libya, was smiling when he shook on a deal with the country's prime minister for a ceasefire and Spring elections.
But hours later and away from the diplomatic stage, Haftar exposed the reality of deep fractures in Libya's political landscape, saying any ceasefire was limited, he actually had no interest in elections and Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj's power-sharing council was in the grip of terrorists.
Keen to expand the French role in ending Libya's crisis, Macron had applauded the moment as a powerful act for peace among the country's rival armed factions who have skirmished over the oil-producing desert state since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Getting the rivals together for only the second time may have been an achievement. But Haftar's subsequent remarks were a reality check on the complexities of uniting Libya's fractious players and delivering on the ground after years of failed Western efforts to end the crisis.