August 22-29: British FM meets with Haftar in Benghazi

Aug 29, 2017 | International actors

On 24 August, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Benghazi, in the first high-profile visit by a British Minister to the city in years. Johnson’s Benghazi trip was part of a two-day visit to Libya during which he also met Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj  in Tripoli and travelled to Misrata. This is his second trip to Libya in the last four months. During his visit to Benghazi, the FM met with Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander General Khalifa Haftar—the first major British move recognizing Haftar as a political actor.

The BBC reported that Johnson said of the two’s meeting, “I urged him to adhere to the commitments he made during recent meetings in Paris, to respect a ceasefire, and to work with Mr Salame in order to amend the Libyan Political Agreement. I have encouraged all sides to resolve their differences by dialogue, not conflict, and to respect international human rights law.” He also warned Libya against holding elections before the country is ready.

It was also announced that UN envoy Ghassan Salame will formally unveil a new roadmap for Libya on 20 September, after holding special UN Security Council  session on Libya.

On 28 August, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting in Paris between the political leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Chad, Niger and Libya, and Serraj. The meeting focused on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. President of the European parliament, Antonio Tajani, made the unpopular suggestion that the EU should be prepared to pay €6 billion to Libya to stop the flow of migrants. Following the meeting, the European leaders released a statement which prioritizes equipping and training the Libyan Coast Guard, but does not belie the importance of “protecting human rights.”