May 14, 2019 / 2:26 PM / 10 days ago

Macron wants to meet Libya's Haftar to push ceasefire: French foreign minister

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a national tribute for late special forces soldiers Cedric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, who were killed in a night-time rescue of four foreign hostages including two French citizens in Burkina Faso, at the Invalides in Paris, France May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool

PARIS, (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron wants to meet Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar to push a ceasefire and resume peace talks, France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Macron last week called for a ceasefire in the month-long battle for Libya’s capital Tripoli after meeting U.N.-backed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.

Tripoli is home to the recognized administration but some European countries such as France have also supported eastern military commander Haftar as a way to fight militants in a country in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A day after meeting Macron, the internationally recognized government asked 40 foreign firms including French oil major Total to renew their licenses or have their operations suspended.

“The situation in Libya is extremely worrying because the proposed U.N. roadmap to both parties - and which almost reached a positive conclusion - ... has today failed on the one hand because of Field Marshal Haftar’s initiative and Serraj’s non-initiative,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers.

“It’s for this reason that the president wanted to meet one and the other to support the U.N. initiative.”

The French presidency said there was no meeting planned at this stage.

Reporting by John Irish; editing by Matthias Blamont

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