France has been seeking to salvage its mediation on Libya, dispatching Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to the North African country where he held talks on Monday with Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
Speaking from Tripoli, Le Drian stressed the need “to forge ahead with the political process according to the Paris agreement” that calls for holding presidential and parliamentary elections on December 10.
The French official told Sarraj that his visit was aimed at underlining the Paris agreement, which was held in May and brought together rival Libyan factions, including Sarraj and Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar.
He also said that he was seeking to overcome obstacles hindering the democratic process and elections in Libya.
Furthermore, he stated that he came with a message from the French people to support the Libyan people and factions in their fight against terrorism.
Talks also covered illegal migration from Libya.
During a press conference with his Libyan counterpart from the GNA Mohammed Siala, Le Drian expressed France’s support for legitimate authorities in Libya being able to exploit their country’s resources.
“This can only be achieved by ending the political crisis through holding the elections,” he explained.
He also urged Libya to turn to its neighbors and regional agencies for assistance in resolving the various crises it is facing.
Le Drian revealed that France will exert pressure for the elections to be held, reiterating that the Libyan leaders had vowed in Paris to stage the presidential and parliamentary polls.
There was a heavy turnout at elections registration centers, which demonstrates the people’s willingness to head to polls, he noted.
“This is therefore the path we should follow,” Le Drian remarked.
A statement from Sarraj’s office said that he had informed the French official of the negative repercussions of the recent developments in the oil crescent region and attempts by some powers to renege on their Paris conference pledges.
He stressed that the GNA was committed to democracy and was working on preparing the conditions to hold the elections on time.
Other powers are expected to commit to holding the polls and preparing the necessary constitutional conditions to stage them, he added, while demanding an end to the policy of political maneuvers.
“Attention must instead be focused on ensuring the success of the political course,” Sarraj said.
Le Drian’s visit came at a turbulent time for Sarraj’s Presidential Council.
A number of its members had quit in recent days, citing the political impasse and the “militia control of Tripoli.”