Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter is in Paris for meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron amid growing international concern about his month-long offensive to take Libya’s capital, Tripoli.
Wednesday’s closed-door meeting comes two weeks after Macron hosted Libya’s struggling U.N.-backed prime minister, who denounced Hifter’s offensive as an attempted coup.
Macron’s office has expressed support for Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj but hasn’t openly addressed claims that France is secretly backing Hifter.
Hifter’s self-styled Libyan National Army, based in the country’s east, is battling rival militias loosely allied with Sarraj’s government.
The U.N. envoy warned the oil-rich nation “is on the verge of descending into a civil war” that could imperil its neighbors. Ghassan Salame said Tuesday extremists from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida are already exploiting the security vacuum.