North Africa

France criticises Haftar for ‘I rule Libya’ announcement

France condemned on Wednesday the announcement by renegade Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar that he is the “lone ruler” of Libya.

Deputy Spokesman of the Foreign Ministry in Paris, Olivier Gauvin, said that the conflict between Haftar, who controls large swathes in the east and west of Libya, and the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli should be resolved through dialogue.

“The solution to the Libyan conflict can only go through dialogue between the parties under the aegis of the United Nations, not through unilateral decisions,” Gauvin insisted. “There is no alternative to an inclusive political solution, as part of the conclusions of the Berlin conference.” Paris, he added, is firmly behind Libya’s unity and stability.

Haftar claims legitimacy from a parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk which was elected in 2014. However, the parliament faced legal issues and was ordered by the Supreme Court to dissolve itself. On Monday, Haftar said that he had received a “mandate” to rule the country and so he was putting the parliament to one side.

The GNA accused Haftar on Tuesday of seeking to stage a new coup with his move that was condemned by the US and even his own ally, Russia. “Changes in the political system in Libya,” said the US Embassy in Tripoli, “cannot be imposed throughout a unilateral move.”

Meanwhile, Washington welcomed, as did Moscow, any opportunity to involve Haftar and the other parties in a comprehensive dialogue on how to end the ongoing crisis in the country.

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