France to host talks with Libya’s premier and Khalifa Haftar

By on July 24, 2017
Libye. Khalifa Haftar

France said it will host talks on Tuesday between Fayez al-Serraj, head of Libya’s U.N.-backed government in Tripoli,and Khalifa Haftar, a powerful military commander in Libya.

The oil-producing country has been mired in chaos and fighting since rebels toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Western governments are pushing a U.N.-backed political agreement to unify the country under which Serraj’s government was installed.

But Haftar, who this month declared victory over rival armed groups in the battle for Libya’s second city Benghazi, has refused to accept the government’s legitimacy.

The two men held their first talks in more than a year and a half in Abu Dhabi in May, and this week’s talks outside Paris were flagged last week in several media reports.

With no national army, brigades of former rebels who once fought together to oust Gaddafi have become powerful competing factions. Each is backed by rival political leaders in fluid alliances locked in a struggle for control.

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