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France Says Haftar is Sending Libya Backwards

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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On Monday, France spoke out against General Khalifa Haftar’s takeover of Libya’s oil ports saying that he is sending Libya backwards.

The French government is urging the UN-backed Libyan unity government (GNA) to work towards unifying Libya by breaking the political deadlock.

The GNA has been exhausting its efforts trying to include the Tobruk-based eastern parliament, which backs Haftar, in addition to integrating Haftar’s militia into a national unified force, however, all efforts were rejected.

“The situation in Libya is worrying and has gotten worse,”said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to reporters in New York. “Haftar’s offensive does not go in the right direction. There is a real risk of going backwards.”

Minister Ayrault said Haftar’s behaviour is taking Libya far off course the direction that would lead to national unity and stability. The French Minister added that the oil fields and ports must only be under the control of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and under the authority of the GNA.

On Monday, the NOC lifted force majeure that had halted the flow of oil in the western pipelines costing Libya $27 million since 2014.

“The production and commercialization of oil must be done in the framework of the NOC under government control, otherwise the risks of clashes in Libya are considerable,” said Ayrault.

The French are calling on Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to up his efforts in trying to unify Libya and establishing national authority. Ayrault said “if Libya goes backwards then it risks reinforcing terrorism and Islamic State (ISIS).”

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