French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday met U.N.-backed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj at a time Serraj’s administration is unhappy about Paris’s perceived support for eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.
Relations between the two leaders have soured since strongman Khalifa Haftar launched a campaign last month against Sarraj and his internationally recognised Government of National Accord.
Serraj claimed France had switched sides to support a “dictator”, in comments deemed “unacceptable and unfounded” by the presidential source on Tuesday.
Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a parallel administration based in Benghazi, began an offensive against Tripoli in early April but its advance has been blocked by forces loyal to Tripoli on the city’s southern outskirts.
Renewed fighting in Libya is a setback for efforts by the United Nations and Western states to end the chaos and political division in Libya eight years after a NATO-backed uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Paris, Rome, Berlin and London had coordinated this week on organising Serraj’s visits across Europe as part of efforts to speak with one voice in finding a solution to the crisis, including a ceasefire, a French official said.