French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian REUTERS
On Tuesday, France called on Libyan parties to refrain from resuming the conflict as tensions have grown between them once again during this week, Sky News Arabia reported on Tuesday.
The French foreign ministry stressed that the implementation of August's ceasefire deal, the departure of foreign troops and fighters, and the continuation of the UN-backed political process represent the priorities for Libya in the meantime.
Paris urged all Libyan parties to back a political settlement to the conflict and hold elections in December 2021 as scheduled.
Libya has been divided between two authorities in Tripoli and Tobruk for six years. Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) controls the east and is allied to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. The LNA is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, France, and Russia. Meanwhile, the Government of National Accord (GNA) is based in Tripoli, the capital, and counts on the support of Turkey, Qatar, and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.
On 22 August, both parties to the conflict declared a ceasefire that ended fears about possible GNA aggression against the port city of Sirte, 370 kilometres east of the capital Tripoli and Jufra, which has a major military airbase.
During consecutive rounds of peace talks in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Switzerland, the Libyan parties agreed to hold national elections in December 2021, develop "criteria, transparent mechanisms, and objectives" for key power positions, work on the release of all prisoners, protect oil and gas facilities, and completely resume production and export activities.
Tensions have recently re-emerged after the Turkish parliament agreed on 22 December to extend the deployment of military troops in war-torn Libya for 18 months.
On Thursday, Haftar vowed to "carry weapons to bring about peace with our own hands and our free will" if Turkey continued to interfere in Libya's affairs. "The colonising enemy has one of two choices: either to leave peacefully or to be driven out by force," Hafter said, referring to Turkey.