Emmanuel Macron doubts add to clouds over Libya peace conference

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The French President said he wanted the meeting to be ‘useful’

Jan 16, 2020

January 16, 2020

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron has said he will decide in the coming days whether he will attend Sunday’s Libya peace conference in Berlin.

“My intention is that we have a useful conference,” Mr Macron told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re very committed to limit external influences and try to reconcile as much as possible.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will attend the conference after Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army left talks in Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement to end nine months of fighting in the country.

Only Fayez Al Sarraj, the prime minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, had signed the deal after a day of negotiations in Moscow brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned he would “teach a lesson” to Field Marshal Haftar if the LNA began fighting again following last weekend’s shaky truce deal.

Turkey has been providing military support for the GNA for weeks.

More than 2,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since fighting began while the United Nations has been trying to lay the ground for a political conference to unite the country.

The international peace conference in Berlin will be hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in consultation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The conference coincides with a one-day trip by Mr Erdogan to Germany.

As well as Germany, Russia and Turkey, government representatives from the US, Italy, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will attend.

Both Field Marshal Haftar and Mr Al Sarraj have been invited to the conference but it is unclear whether either will go.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas flew to Libya on Thursday to meet with Field Marshal Haftar in a bid to push peace efforts.

“Our message is clear: no one can win this conflict militarily,” Mr Maas said before leaving Berlin. “A window is now opening to free the conflict from international influence and so open the way to a political process and inter-Libyan negotiations on a post-war order” under UN supervision.

Updated: January 16, 2020 01:00 PM

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