UN-backed Libyan government cuts security ties with France

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A statement from the Government of National Accord (GNA), the Tripoli-based authorities recognised by the UN as Libya's governement, said its interior ministry had suspended 'all relations' with France because 'support of the criminal Haftar', a reference to rebel commander Khalifa Haftar, based in the east of the country, whose forces have launched an ongoing military offensive to overthrow the GNA.

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Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) accused France of backing rebel commander Khalifa Haftar and said it would suspend all security cooperation with Paris, reports Euronews.

A statement on Thursday from the Tripoli-based GNA's interior ministry said it had suspended "all relations between the ministry and the French side" because of "the position of the French government in support of the criminal Haftar."

A French presidential source said in response to the accusation that France supported the internationally recognised government in Tripoli and that Emmanuel Macron's legitimate interlocutor was Fayez al-Sarraj, the GNA's prime minister, with whom he spoke on Monday and reaffirmed that.

France has helped train Serraj's presidential guard and in October 2013 signed a deal between a consultancy of the French interior ministry and the Libyan interior ministry to train 1,000 police.

Most recently in February, France provided the Tripoli government with six patrol boats for its coastline.

However, Paris has given Haftar support in the past viewing him as the best bet to end the chaos that has reigned since a NATO-backed rebellion set out to end Gaddafi's murderous four-decade rule.

Euronews has reached out to the French foreign affairs ministry.

General Haftar leads the rebel Libyan National Army (LNA) forces, aligned with the House of Representatives, an elected government based in the east of the country. The LNA has fought the GNA for control of the north-African country since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

On April 4th, Haftar launched a military operation to take Tripoli. LNA spokesman General Ahmed Mismari told Euronews the offensive aimed "to defend civilians, to defend the Libyan people, to defend our country resources, for the dignity of Libya."

See more of this report, with video, from Euronews.

 

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