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  • FILE PHOTO: A member of Libya's internationally recognised government forces carries a weapon in Ain Zara, Tripoli, Libya October 14, 2019.

    FILE PHOTO: A member of Libya's internationally recognised government forces carries a weapon in Ain Zara, Tripoli, Libya October 14, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 January 2020
Opinion

The general left Moscow without signing the deal drafted at the indirect talks, Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed it on Tuesday.

Libya’s General Kalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), refused to sign an agreement that would have formalized a tentative ceasefire Tuesday in Russia, despite been already signed by the head of the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj.

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"The draft [agreement] ignores many of the Libyan army's demands," Haftar was quoted as saying by Al Arabiya.

The general left Moscow without signing the deal drafted at the indirect talks, Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed it on Tuesday. To which, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country would not refrain from "teaching [Haftar] a lesson.”

The temporary truce was proposed on Jan. 8 by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, who back opposing sides in the Libyan conflict. 

Both nations called on all parties in Libya to "declare a sustainable ceasefire, supported by the necessary measures to be taken for stabilizing the situation on the ground and normalizing daily life in Tripoli and other cities."

Although Erdogan said Haftar had “run away” the Russian defense ministry was quoted by Interfax news agency saying that LNA’s leader was taking two days to consider it; in time to the German-led conference to be held in Berlin on Jan. 19. 

The peace summit will include envoys from the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Italy, the European Union, and the United Nations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also extended an invitation to the African Union, the Arab League, as well the Republic of Congo, Algeria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey.

The LNA, which is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia, has been fighting off a nine-month-long offensive over Tripoli which is the last stronghold of al Sarraj’s GNA, which is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.

The U.N. recognized government recently asked Turkey for military aid, and after validation by the parliament, Ankara started sending military personnel on Jan. 5; a move that Russia rejected.

Last month, the GNA warned Libya's neighbors of severe consequences if Haftar was to take Tripoli.

"If Tripoli falls, Tunis and Algiers will fall in turn. This is an attempt to sow chaos in the region and exercise control over North Africa," Fathi Bashagha, the GNA's interior minister, said.

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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