By Robert Cusack
Le Drian has called for a drastic solution to bring Libya back to ‘normality’ and the plan could involve controversial renegade general Khalif Haftar.
France’s new foreign minister described Libya as a “failed state” on Thursday, adding that a controversial renegade general could be brought into the country’s future governance.
Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the road to stability in Libya required a place for the eastern Libyan military strongman General Khalifa Haftar under the terms of the Skhirat agreement, in an interview with French daily Le Monde.
“Libya is a totally failed state where all structures now need to be rebuilt,” said Le Drian.
“The framework needs to remain that of Skhirat, but the architecture needs to be adjusted under the supervision of the UN and with the sponsorship of neighbouring states,” he added.
Le Drain referred to the 2015 Skhirat agreement, a UN-brokered deal which established a government in Tripoli and involved several of Libya’s warring parties.
The foreign minister said “like Prime Minister Sarraj, General Haftar is part of the solution”.
The defeater of Islamists
Haftar remains a controversial figure in Libyan politics, as he has surrounded himself with military leaders who were once extremely loyal to Colonel Gaddafi.
Since 2014 he has launched a bloody war against the country’s Islamists, some of whom were allied to the Islamic State group or al-Qaeda.
Several of these Islamist groups were linked to major terrorist attacks on foreign soil, including the Manchester bombing and the Bataclan attack in Paris two years ago.
In response to these attacks, several foreign governments have promised their support to Haftar in his fight against the country’s Islamist brigades.
French arms exports
Le Drian was responsible for a large increase in France’s weapons exports in previous years, becoming “the darling of French arms manufacturers”, according to France24.
He has also been praised by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, after Le Drian helped strengthen ties with the regime following Cairo’s brief isolation from the EU.
The foreign minister was responsible for the 5.2-billion-euro ($5.9 billion) sale of 24 Rafale warplanes to Egypt in 2015.
Several of these French-built warplanes were used by Egypt in bombing campaigns in support of Haftar’s forces in Libya last month.
Le Drian also sold Cairo two Mistral-class warships which were previously intended for Russia in 2015.