Gen. Haftar tells France’s Macron no ceasefire for now

The Haftar-led army is allied with Libya's eastern-based government. The politically divided North African country has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid clashes and chaos since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi's government in 2011.

Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who is leading the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, told French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that conditions for a ceasefire were not in place, the state-owned TV network France 24 reported in an online story.

But Haftar, who is visiting the French capital, said he was willing to negotiate if certain conditions are met, France 24 quoted an official with the French presidential office as saying.

Macron asked Haftar to take moves to broker a ceasefire and resume political dialogue with UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj to restore stability, the Elysee said in a statement.

Macron met Haftar here “to facilitate dialogue between Libyan actors in the context of ongoing military operations near Tripoli”, the statement said.

“The distrust we see between the Libyan actors is stronger than ever today,” said the French presidential official after the meeting between Macron and Haftar.

Haftar has been leading a military campaign and fighting the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli since early April to take over western Libya, particularly the capital.

“Libya is on the verge of descending into a civil war, which could lead to the permanent division of the country. The damage already done will take years to mend, and that’s only if the war is ended now,” Ghassan Salame, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Libya, told the Security Council in a briefing earlier this week.

The consequences and risks of the conflict are already painfully clear, especially for the Libyan people: over 460 dead, 29 of them civilians; over 2,400 injured, the majority of them civilians; over 75,000 people forced from their homes, all of them civilians. Over half of the displaced are women and children, said Salame.

Humanitarian actors estimate that over 100,000 men, women and children remain trapped in immediate front-line areas, with over 400,000 more in areas directly impacted by the clashes, he said.