July 27, 2017 / 10:16 AM / 2 months ago

France's Macron eyes special centers in Libya to handle asylum requests

French President Emmanuel Macron greets the crowd after a mass to pay tribute to French priest Father Jacques Hamel one year after he was killed by Islamist militants in an attack in the church, in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen, France, July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Charly Triballeau/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that he was hoping to set up so-called “hot spots” to handle asylum requests in Libya, which has seen thousands flee fighting in the country.

Earlier this week, Macron chaired talks between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and the divided country’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

At those talks, the two Libyans committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections next spring.

Macron wants France to play a bigger role in coaxing Libya’s factions to end the turmoil that has allowed Islamist militants to gain a foothold and migrant smugglers to flourish in the absence of a strong central government.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Marine Pennetier; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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