Haftar meets Macron in Paris, says he will sign ceasefire if GNA respects it
On 9 March, the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, travelled to France and met with French President Emmanuel Macron. According to a French official, Haftar claimed he would sign the draft ceasefire agreement produced by the 5+5 military dialogue track and maintain it if the armed groups aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA) respected it. The meeting is reported to have lasted around an hour and was not a part of Macron’s publicly announced daily schedule. The official claimed Macron had discussed efforts to lift the oil blockades in Libya. However, Haftar reportedly claimed the issue did not involve him.
This meeting demonstrates that France is keen to leverage its relatively positive relationship with Haftar to re-establish itself as the dominant interlocutor on Libya. However, while Haftar may be more willing to go through the motions of discussing a ceasefire with France, as opposed to the UN or other European nations who have a more antagonistic relationship with the LNA, there are no indications from this meeting that Haftar is serious about signing or committing to the UN-mediate draft ceasefire agreement. While Haftar’s current schedule of international meetings means that a significant escalation in LNA military operations on the ground is unlikely in the immediate term, this ‘commitment’ to agree a ceasefire is unlikely to result in any tangible changes on the ground, nor lead to the ceasefire agreement being signed any time soon.