29 April – 5 May: French fighter jets sighted in Libya

May 6, 2020 | International actors

On 30 April, the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Foreign Minister issued a statement on Twitter expressing “its objection & deep concern to the French Foreign Ministry about the sighting of a French fighter jet & refuelling aircraft over the skies of Misrata & Abu Grein in Libya”. The minister later said that the French were urgently investigating the circumstances of this incident.

Throughout last week, most of the major international players in Libya have issued statements in reaction to Libyan National Army (LNA) head Khalifa Haftar’s speech on 27 April in which he declared he had the people’s mandate to abolish the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and establish military rule in Libya. The reactions of Haftar’s main backers, namely the UAE, Egypt and Russia, have varied from tacit support (while paying nominal lip service to a political solution), through to clear disapproval.

On 30 April, the UAE issued a statement in which it did not explicitly refer to Haftar’s statement, but instead “commended” the LNA for its “anti-terror operations” and expressed its “categorical rejection of the Turkish military intervention. It also issued a vague call for Libyan parties to commit to the UN-mediated political process to end the war. On 28 April, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed Egypt’s adherence to a political solution in Libya but stressed this “should not lead to complacency in confronting extremist terrorist Turkish-backed currents in Libya, or engaging with them in negotiations about the future of Libya.”Egypt also avoided referring directly to Haftar’s statement. On 28 April, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, told media outlets that Russia did not approve of Haftar’s attempt to declare military rule in Libya and stressed Russia has contact with all actors in the Libyan conflict and is committed to finding a political solution.