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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan attend a news conference after the talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2017.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan attend a news conference after the talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 10, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 January 2020
Opinion

The announcement was made during the inauguration of the TurkStream pipeline which will carry Russian natural gas to southern Europe through Turkey.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, who back opposing sides in the Libyan conflict, called Wednesday for a ceasefire in the war-torn country to begin at midnight on Jan. 12.

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In a joint statement, 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."

The announcement was made during the inauguration of the TurkStream pipeline which will carry Russian natural gas to southern Europe through Turkey.

As tensions escalate in the North African country, on Monday, Libya’s neighbor Algeria warned that Libya’s capital is "a red line no one should cross," after forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar reportedly killed 30 students Saturday when they bombed a military academy.

Currently, the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Haftar, is fighting to take over Tripoli which is the last stronghold of the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al Sarraj.

The GNA which is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy, has been fighting off a months-long offensive by the LNA, based on the northeastern city of Tobruk from where they have taken over most of the territory. Haftar is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia.

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.

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