Recently, Haftar’s envoys have been received by high level officials in several European capitals, indicating that Haftar’s leverage is growing. After the controversial regional powers meeting on Libya — which took place in Paris on 2 October — ended without agreement, Haftar’s envoy Ali al-Gutrani, former boycotting PC member, and Eissa Aribi, head of the HoR’s energy committee, met with the Italian FM Paolo Gentiloni on 5 October in Rome. Gentiloni stressed the need for the PC to make compromises with Haftar if it is to succeed. Additionally, Mohamed Al Dairi, the former foreign minister in the HoR’s government, visited officials in Brussels in late September, before going on to Paris.
On October 4, French FM Jean-Marc Ayrault, publicly called for Haftar to be “left a place” in the future unified national government. This indicates a new alignment between the French Foreign Minister and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, reportedly a keen supporter of Haftar, who supported him with French Special Forces in Benghazi for several months. France’s playing both sides of the political divide in Libya is coming under criticism at the highest levels of European policy-making.