Libya "can count on France’s resolute support" - Minister
Libya – Statement to the press by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, following his meeting with Mr Fayez Sarraj, Prime Minister of Libya
Tripoli, 18 March 2019
I’m especially pleased to be with you in Tripoli today for the fourth time. I had an in-depth discussion with the Chairman of the Presidential Council, Mr Sarraj. And I’ll be continuing those talks with the United Nations Secretary-General’s [Special] Representative, Mr Salamé, and Marshal Haftar.
I bring a message of friendship to the Libyan people as a whole, as well as a message of support. Indeed, I’m back in Libya at an important time which is also a time of hope for Libyans, who would like to regain stability, strengthen their sovereignty and take back control of their destiny.
On 27 February an understanding was reached in Abu Dhabi between Prime Minister Sarraj and Marshal Haftar, under the auspices of Mr Salamé. This understanding provides for the formation of a transitional government tasked with restoring basic services to the population and preparing to hold elections before the end of the year.
It is totally in line with the goals the Libyan players set themselves under the eyes of the international community, both in Paris last May and in Palermo in November. And it’s part of the UN Special Representative’s road map. France supports this determination and would like this understanding to be implemented swiftly in a spirit of national harmony and cooperation.
It comes at a time when significant progress has been made in the south of the country against terrorist groups, criminal organizations and foreign armed groups which have, for too long, been fuelling instability in the region.
Both previously in Sirte, where the Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces of Misrata led the fight against Daesh [so-called ISIL], and currently in Fezzan, where the Libyan National Army is waging a resolute battle against the groups established there, France supports all the Libyan forces combating terrorism throughout the country.
This battle against an enemy that has plunged our two countries into mourning is a shared battle, and we’ll go on fighting it together. Alongside the people of Fezzan in their diversity, France will continue supporting their aspirations to regain security and access to economic development. We’re therefore delighted that the Al-Sharara and Al-Fil oilfields have been handed over to the National Oil Corporation (NOC), and this has enabled the state of force majeure to be lifted and production to be resumed.
Libya’s natural resources are the common good of the Libyan nation; they must be exploited by the legitimate national institutions for the benefit of all Libyans.
At the same time, the necessary economic reforms must be pursued in a spirit of fairness and probity. I’m thinking in particular of the work started, with the United Nations’ help, on the central bank.
And in this decisive period, Libya must be able to rely on its neighbours, its friends and all the regional organizations. In particular it can count on France’s resolute support. This support will take very concrete form in the reopening of a permanent embassy in Tripoli as soon as the material and security conditions allow it.
Thank you for listening./.