Macron looks on as Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (L) shakes hands with General Khalifa Haftar (R), commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA). Photo: AFP
“This calendar is the indispensable political solution for Libya and it must be implemented now with the utmost speed,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said after talks in Tripoli with Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord.
Oil-rich Libya has been wracked by chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
Sarraj's GNA, the product of a 2015 deal aimed at restoring stability to Libya, has failed to impose its authority across much of the country, particularly the east where a rival government backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar holds sway.
A plan presented to the UN Security Council in September by international envoy Ghassan Salame seeks to negotiate a new political deal that would be accepted by authorities in the east.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who hosted a meeting in July between Sarraj and Haftar, at the time announced a deal to hold elections in the spring.
Le Drian said he and Sarraj had a “total convergence of views” on the UN plan and on “the need to move quickly”.
In Tripoli, he also visited a detention centre for migrants waiting to be repatriated to their home countries.
The minister travelled on to Benghazi, 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) east of the capital, to meet Haftar, who said this week that the GNA had lost any legitimacy since its mandate expired on December 17 under the 2015 accord.
Le Drian said he delivered a message to Haftar: “There is no other alternative to the accord, also for you. You have a recognised international image. Place it at the service of your country.”