neighbours and regional and Western powers.
“Today’s meeting was inclusive,” said Dorothée Schmid, who leads the Middle East and North Africa section of the French Institute for International Relations. “France is backing the UN process, and that is progress,” she said, noting that when Macron began his effort on Libya last year, he was not working with other countries and organisations.
A faction from Misrata in western Libya declined an invitation to the Paris meeting, saying it was not being treated in the same way as other delegations.
France and other European countries want to stabilise Libya to stem the flow of migrants leaving Libya’s shores for Europe. Libyan seaports near Tripoli are just 288 Km from the Italian island of Lampedusa. While the flow of migrants has slowed over the past couple of years, thousands still make it to Europe through dangerous smuggling networks.
The US has taken a backseat role in Libya’s political process in recent years, concentrating instead on counterterrorism operations against militants from the Islamic State and other extremist groups.
In 2016, the US conducted nearly 500 airstrikes on the coastal city of Sirte as part of a Libyanled military operation that ousted the Islamic State from the city.
Under the Trump administration, the US has carried out at least nine airstrikes on targets in the country’s lawless southern deserts.
Prime Minister Fayez alsarraj of the Un-backed unity government in Tripoli; Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose forces control much of the country’s east; Khalid Mishri, the newly elected head of the High Council of State, which is an advisory body to the Government of National Accord led by Sarraj; and Aguila Saleh Issa, the Speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives.
Additional reporting by Declan Walsh