A flurry of foreign interest in Libya has raised hope among some that a detente between two major figures in the country may be reached.
Visits by two European Union foreign ministers and the appointment of a respected broker as a UN representative are regarded as positives by some Libya watchers.
One of the aims of this diplomacy is to bring together Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who controls much of the eastern part of the country, including Benghazi.
African leaders are due to meet Saturday in the Republic of Congo to discuss the ongoing crisis in the country. Al-Sarraj is expected to attend, but Haftar will not, though the elected head of the eastern parliament, Aguila Salah, has indicated he will do so.
Simmering under the surface of the high-stakes political game is the migrant issue, which humanitarian groups have said is a major reason for the European Union's renewed interest in the country.
A blockade, helped by the Italian Navy, is in force to stem the tide of boats leaving Libyan waters. Migrants, mainly from West Africa, are living in "horrific" conditions in one detention center visited by the BBC, according to a report by the British broadcaster this week.
Nevertheless, the involvement of EU countries, including the visit this week of French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian, is a positive, said Ben Fishman, an associate fellow at the Washington Institute and a North Africa analyst, formerly with the U.S. National Security Council.
Fishman noted that the visit by Le Drian followed a Paris summit between the prime minister and Haftar in late July.
"This needs to be well-coordinated," Fishman told Maghreb News Wire. "The French initiative should not be at odds with the UN. There is a danger of the French steering the UN that is not maybe as productive as it should be."
Ghassan Salame of Lebanon, appointed special United Nations special representative in Libya, should have a pivotal role in any moves made by the international community in the country, Fishman argues.
"The French are more supportive of Haftar, and the UN has to be more neutral by going with Salame," Fishman said.
The French foreign minister's visit followed that of his UK counterpart, Boris Johnson, who met the prime minister and Haftar. There are no accounts of any substance of what was discussed at those meetings. Britain did promise close to $12 million in aid for the country to "combat terrorism," Johnson said.
Johnson, in a BBC interview following his visit, described the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi as a "tragedy so far," and that the country was "in a state of anarchy."
Johnson has his critics both in Britain and abroad, with some arguing his oversized personality does not mesh with the diplomatic credentials needed of a foreign secretary.
Despite criticism of his personality and approach, Johnson is "grounded in a very professional foreign office," Fishman, the analyst, said, adding that his ambassador in Libya, Peter Millet, is "very active."
"I am glad that they (the EU countries) are involved but disappointed that the U.S. is not more involved," Fishman said.
The U.S. can "play a more effective role in cajoling the parties to go along with the UN and that will be felt on the ground," he said.
This may be particularly relevant as the Russians become more actively involved in Libya. It is part of Russia's moves to play a more prominent geopolitical role, Fishman said.