France to Open Embassy in Libya


On Wednesday, France’s new Ambassador to Libya, Mostafa Mihraje arrived in Tripoli to officially assume his role. He met with Libyan Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush to discuss the latest developments in the country.

Mihraje expressed Paris’ intention to reopen its embassy in Tripoli, and begin issuing visas for Libyans. He also confirmed his commitment to supporting the new UN Special Representative to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily to help hold the long-awaited elections.

During the meeting, Al-Mangoush hailed the “positive role being played by France in maintaining the stability of Libya, and holding Parliamentary and Presidential elections on a basis of a consensual constitutional framework.”

Mihraje was previously Consul General of France in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and served as France’s Special Envoy to the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2018. He succeeds Béatrice Le Fraper du Hellen as French Ambassador to Libya.

Most diplomats and other foreigners left Libya after repeated attacks and kidnappings. Notably, in September 2012 an Islamist assault on the US consulate in Benghazi killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Notably, France’s Foreign Ministry recently reiterated that the recent Turkish-Libyan energy exploration agreement “is not in accordance with international law of the sea.”

“Our position on the memorandum of understanding signed between Turkey and the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in 2019, remains unchanged. This infringes the sovereign rights of Member States of the European Union, does not comply with the international law of the sea, and cannot have legal consequences for third states,” France’s ministry spokesperson told a daily briefing.

Earlier this month, Libya and Turkey signed several economic agreements that included potential energy exploration in maritime areas, Mevlut Cavusoğlu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister said.

The agreements will allow for oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters. This comes three years after the two countries signed a maritime border deal.

The country has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, which led to a series of conflicts that only ended with a ceasefire in 2020. Libya’s Presidential elections were originally scheduled for December 2021, and then postponed indefinitely.