French President Francois Hollande warned Tuesday that Libya must not turn into another Syria, and he vowed to support the country’s fragile unity government, whose prime minister is visiting Paris.
Hollande saluted the push by Libyan forces to liberate the city of Sirte from Islamic State control, but he warned the fight against radical groups in the North African country is far from over.
Speaking to reporters alongside Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, Hollande said terrorist groups are still operating in Libya, and they must be hunted down and neutralized. Libya must not follow the tragic example of Syria, the French president said, describing the scene in the Syrian city of Aleppo, hit by massive aerial bombardments in recent days, as a massacre.
Hollande also backed Serraj's efforts to expand his unity government, saying the interest of the international community is to have a stable and sure government.
Libya’s unity government suffered a recent setback when rival forces loyal to an eastern Libyan commander evicted Serraj’s allies from the North African country’s oil ports.
A recent British parliamentary report harshly criticized France and Britain for their military intervention in Libya in 2011, which it said helped to bring on the country’s political collapse and the rise of the Islamic State group.