France to host international conference on Libya ahead of planned elections

French President Emmanuel Macron will host an international conference on Libya on November 12, a month before elections that aim to end a decade of civil war but appear increasingly uncertain.

“In view of the December elections, France will organize, around the President of the Republic, an international conference on Libya on November 12,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a press conference on the sidelines of the ONU. Mounting.

Le Drian and his German and Italian counterparts Heiko Maas and Luigi Di Maio will also co-chair a meeting dedicated to Libya on Wednesday in New York.

France is calling for the elections to be held as scheduled and for the “departure of foreign forces and mercenaries,” Le Drian said.

Ratification earlier this month of an electoral law that was clearly tailored for Khalifa Haftar, the military strongman who controls eastern Libya, raised tensions three months before the crucial vote.

The law was not put to a vote and was signed by the head of parliament sitting in the eastern city of Tobruk, Aguila Saleh, an ally of Haftar.

The head of the Tripoli-based High Council of State (HCS), which has been serving as the Senate, Khalid al-Mishri, rejected the legislation, which he said had been passed “without legal vote or consensus.”

On Monday, the HCS proposed a postponement of at least one year of the presidential election, due to a lack of consensus on the electoral law.

Libya’s Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush at the end of August also did not rule out postponing the elections.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has voiced his support for Haftar, is pushing for legislative and presidential elections to be held as scheduled on December 24.

The United States also described the poll as “the best opportunity it has had in a decade to end the conflict.”

In December, the UN estimated that there were some 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya, including Russians from the private security company Wagner, Chadians, Sudanese and Syrians. Several hundred Turkish soldiers are present in Libya under a bilateral agreement with the previous government in Tripoli.


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