France will host an international conference on Libya on November 12, a month before the country plans to hold elections to unite East and West to permanently put an end to a decade of civil war.
“With a view to 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 at a UN press conference. General Assembly (YOUNG).
Le Drian and his German and Italian counterparts, Heiko Maas and Luigi Di Maio, will also chair a meeting for Libya on Wednesday in New York.
France demands that the elections be held according to schedule and that “foreign forces and mercenaries leave”, says Le Drian.
The ratification earlier this month of an electoral law clearly tailored to Putin general Khalifa Haftar, who controls eastern Libya, raised tensions three months before the decisive vote.
The law did not go to the polls and was signed by the head of parliament in Tobruk in the eastern city, Aguila Saleh, a Haftar ally.
The head of the Tripoli-based Supreme Council of State (HCS), which has acted in the Senate, Khalid al-Mishri, rejected the legislation, which he said had been passed “without a legal vote or consensus.”
HCS proposed on Monday that the presidential election be postponed by at least one year due to a lack of consensus on the election law.
Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush at the end of August also does not rule out postponing the election.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has expressed his support for Haftar, is pushing for law and presidential elections to be held on December 24.
The United States also described the vote as “the best chance it has had in a decade, to end the conflict.”
In December, the UN estimated that there were about 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya, including Russians from the private security company Wagner Group, Chadians, Sudanese and Syrians. Hundreds of Turkish soldiers are present in Libya under a bilateral agreement with the former internationally recognized government in Tripoli.
The North African country was gripped by violence and political turbulence in the aftermath of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that drove dictator Moammar Gadhafi and killed him.
In recent years, the oil-rich country has been divided between two rival administrations with the support of foreign powers and countless militias.
While Turkey and Qatar have been the main supporters of the UN-recognized National Accord Government (GNA), Haftar received support from Egypt, Russia, France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
After Eastern Warlord Haftar’s forces were led from the west of the country last year, the two camps signed a ceasefire in Geneva in October, and an interim government was set up earlier this year to lead the country against the planned votes.
France took a leading role in NATO’s air campaign that helped overthrow autocratic leader Gadhafi in 2011.
The French have been working with forces loyal to the putschist, who rejected the official Libyan government. In July 2019, French missiles were found at a base south of the capital Tripoli belonging to militias loyal to Haftar. France acknowledged that the weapons belonged to it, but denied having delivered them to Haftar in violation of a UN arms embargo, saying that French forces in Libya had lost control of them.