Foreign ministers from the G7 group of nations will discuss the threat of a resurgence in Libya’s civil war at a meeting in western France on Friday, as world powers scrambled to defuse a dangerous escalation in the oil producer’s power struggle, ONA reports citing Reuters.
A military advance towards Tripoli and Libya’s U.N. backed government by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar has taken the United Nations by surprise, just as its secretary general was in the capital to plan a peace conference later this month.
Shortly before the summit began, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the G7 was monitoring the situation with a great deal of concern.
“Libya is likely to be at the heart of exchanges today and tomorrow. It will be looked at in detail, hopefully to allow us to move forward and avoid the situation getting worse,” a senior French diplomat said.
Concern over Libya’s stability is heightened by continuing political tensions around Europe over migration from north Africa, despite the fact that the numbers of new arrivals in Europe via the central Mediterranean have plummeted.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed his counterparts from the club of big rich nations under a dull gray sky in Brittany, for a meeting overshadowed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s absence and Britain’s Brexit meltdown.
French diplomats say Paris has scaled back its ambitions for France’s presidency of the club of big rich countries, after U.S. President Donald Trump threw last year’s summit in Canada into disarray, backing out of a joint communique and firing barbs at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The French diplomat sought to downplay Pompeo’s snub saying: “We’re working well with the Americans. Yes, we have differences on some subjects, but that isn’t holding back the quality of our dialogue.”