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Haftar Leaves Russia without Signing Libya Ceasefire Deal

Haftar Leaves Russia without Signing Libya Ceasefire Deal

Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 - 07:30
Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar shakes hands with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu before talks in Moscow, Russia January 13, 2020. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar left Moscow on Tuesday without signing a ceasefire deal to end hostilities in the North African country.

Russia's defense ministry said Haftar had been positive about the deal drafted at talks in the capital and is taking two days to discuss it with allies, the Interfax news agency reported.

Talks on the terms of a ceasefire between Haftar's LNA and the Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, went on for nearly eight hours on Monday without the two delegations actually meeting.

Russia said it was hopeful the country's warring rivals would soon conclude the deal to end nine months of fighting.

The defense ministry said the readiness of parties in the Libyan conflict to support a ceasefire had created a positive atmosphere, Interfax reported, amid a diplomatic push to stabilize the situation there.

Sarraj had signed the ceasefire agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

The LNA has since April been waging an operation to rid Tripoli of militias and criminal gangs loyal to the GNA.

The Moscow talks come after a ceasefire, initiated by Turkey and Russia, saw a lull in heavy fighting and air strikes on Sunday, though both factions accused each other of violating that truce as skirmishes continued around Tripoli.

Early on Tuesday, the LNA declared it was "ready and determined" to achieve victory against Tripoli, the forces' official Facebook website said. It gave no further details.

The truce was declared ahead of an international conference on Libya, scheduled for Berlin at the end of the month. Two participants in the preparatory negotiations said the meeting would be held on January 19.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the summit on Saturday, adding that the United Nations would lead talks if a meeting were to take place in Berlin. She said Libya’s warring parties would need to play a major role if a solution was to be found.

Merkel said the aim was to give Libya the chance of becoming a sovereign and peaceful country

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said there were plans to hold a Libya conference in Berlin in January but declined to confirm the date.

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