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  • President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told a news conference alongside Khalifa Haftar and his ally, eastern parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.

    President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told a news conference alongside Khalifa Haftar and his ally, eastern parliament speaker Aguila Saleh. | Photo: AFP

Published 6 June 2020
Opinion

This comes as Haftar’s army has lost key battles and significant towns in the western part of the country.

Eastern-based Libyan National Army’s (LNA) General Khalifa Haftar backs a ceasefire in Libya to take effect from Monday, Egypt's president announced Saturday after talks in Cairo.

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"This initiative calls for respecting all international efforts and initiatives by declaring a ceasefire from 6 pm [16:00 GMT] Monday, June 8, 2020," President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told a news conference alongside Haftar and his ally, eastern parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.

The "Cairo Declaration" urges the withdrawal of "foreign mercenaries from all Libyan territory” and the "dismantling militias and handing over their weaponry so that Libyan National Army [led by Haftar] would be able to carry out its military and security responsibilities and duties".

Also, the Egyptian president requested international support and called on the United Nations to invite Libya's rivals the LNA and the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj from Tripoli for talks. 

This comes as Haftar’s army has lost key battles and significant towns in the western part of the country. While the GNA announced Saturday they launched an operation to seize the strategic city of Sirte.

"The air force has carried out five strikes in the outskirts of Sirte," the traditional boundary between Libya's west and east, GNA spokesman Mohamad Gnounou said.

Since May, the GNA took back the strategic al-Watiya airbase south of Tripoli, Bani Walid in the country's northwest and a day after the city of Tarhuna, Haftar's last stronghold in northwestern Libya and Tripoli International Airport.

The LNA, which is backed by Egypt, the UAE, France, and Russia, has been fighting off a year-long offensive over Tripoli which is the last stronghold of Fayez al Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.

From 2014 and on, Libya has had two political power centers, the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, that is having a hard time governing the capital city and some western areas, and another government in Tobruk, an eastern city which has remained under Haftar's control.

The North-African nation which has major oil reserves had been under foreign rule for centuries and gained independence in 1951. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and ruled the country for four decades until he was ousted in 2011 by Western military intervention. 

According to the U.N., more than 280 civilians and about 2,000 fighters have been killed and 146,000 Libyans displaced since Haftar launched his assault to seize the capital.

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