(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) By Khalid Jabbar
TUNIS, July 24 (KUNA) -- Observers concerned with the Libya affair have welcomed the meeting due next week in Paris between Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the leading dissident and commander of the so-called Libyan National Army, and head of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez AL-Sarraj in Paris next week.
Interviewed by KUNA, observers voiced optimism that the Paris talks that bring together the major rivals in the ongoing conflict in Libya, would lead to a "breakthrough" toward a political solution for the crisis of the North African state.
The upcoming "summit" between Haftar and Al-Sarraj is part of France's endeavors to have a foothold in the Libya issue, media figure and analyst Jomaa Al-Qasmi, an expert in the Libya affair, told KUNA. The Paris talks follow the first meeting held in Abu Dhabi in May, as well as the retreat of the Italian role in Libya, he added. France is trying hard to fill the "regional vacuum", Al-Qasmi added, noting that the new UN envoy or Libya Ghassan Salama is known to be "close to Paris." France, which has managed to maintain "friendly ties with both Haftar and AL-Sarraj" is seeking to reach a "compromise and understanding" between both sides at the time when the commander's forces are more likely to move west, especially to the capital Tripoli to remove the militia there, he said.
For Al-Qasmi, the Abu Dhabi meeting broke the ice between Haftar and AL-Sarraj, and the Paris talks will build on this to conclude a mutual understanding to crystalize the initiative the premier has revealed recently.
France is capable of achieving a political breakthrough that could save Libya a military solution to the aggravating crisis, he concluded.
This second meeting between the two men is a "positive step" in itself since "Libya is in a dire need for a political dialogue, and they both constitute the front line of the warrying parties," Tunisian political analyst Salah-Eddin Al-Jourshi said told KUNA.
To interact with the meeting, it has to be viewed on two levels; the first in terms of being a symbolic move in itself, with potential positive implications; the second refers to what is taking place on the ground in Libya, he said.
Al-Jourshi explained that Haftar is carrying on with attempts to achieve more geographical and political gains ahead of the negotiations which would not be an easy matter, since both of the two men think he "represents legitimacy." On a third level, the significance of the meeting lies in the fact that it reflects further French, and European intervention in the Libya issue, he said.
Former diplomat and political analyst Ahmad Wanis said France took a risky responsibility in the military operation in Libya some years ago.
Today, it is seeking to make arrangements for Libya's future in coordination with Italy, he added.
Wanis noted that the Paris meeting can be viewed as a "promising step toward a Mediterranean policy, in cooperation with the major states of the Basin, and apart from the US. This will, not doubt, be for the good of the Mediterranean countries, and will save the Libya issue from other regional impacts, he said.
The Paris meeting is another step to break the ice between the top parties of the Libyan conflict, said Director of the Maghreb Center for Research on Libya Rasheed Khashana.
Yet, Khashana he does not expect "a political breakthrough" to dissolve the Libya crisis, he told KUNA.
There are many various points of disagreement between Haftar and Al-Sarraj, or between the two widely different views of the Libya crisis, he said. This will make it hard for any attempt to bring them closer, or to get them agree on a roadmap for ending the crisis. Khashana regretted the fact that the Haftar-Al-Sarraj talks are to be held in Paris and not in an Arab capital.
The US has recently announced that, within weeks, it will offer a strategy for dissolving the crisis, a string return to Washington to the Libya arena after a three-year absence, he said.
France is seeking to pre-empt the proposed strategy and present itself as a mediator with good ties with all the parties involved in the Libyan crisis, Khashana noted. (end) ksj.msa