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Marshal Haftar tells Macron no ceasefire for now

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

PARIS – General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is leading a military operation against the forces allied with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, rejected a ceasefire requested by French President Emmanuel Macron during talks in Paris, an Elysee official said Wednesday.

Hafter said the conditions for halting hostilities “were not met,” while acknowledging that a “political dialogue” is needed to end the standoff with his rival, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, the official said on condition of anonymity, according to AFP.

But the mistrust between the two Libyans is stronger than ever,” the official said, acknowledging “an impasse between the international community’s desire for a ceasefire, and marshal Haftar’s way of seeing things.”

He added that Haftar had justified the offensive he launched against Tripoli last month by saying he was fighting against “private militias and extremist groups” who are gaining influence in the capital.

Haftar did not make a statement after meeting with Macron for over an hour, a visit that follows Haftar’s surprise trip to Rome last week for talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Both Macron and Conte had already met recently with Sarraj, who has accused Paris of supporting Haftar and tacitly backing his assault on Tripoli, claims denied by French officials.

After the talks with Haftar, Macron’s office said the president reiterated France’s priorities in Libya: “Fight against terrorist groups, dismantle trafficking networks, especially those for illegal immigration, and permanently stabilise Libya.”

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