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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Libyan military commander to discuss peace process in Moscow

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar agreed recently to a road map to end political and military conflict

Field Marshal Haftar is commander of the Libyan National Army. Philippe Wojazer / Reuters
Field Marshal Haftar is commander of the Libyan National Army. Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar was due in Moscow on Saturday to discuss a peace plan aimed at reconciling rival power centres and restoring order in the country.

The head of Russia's Libya contact group, Lev Dengov, said Field Marshal Haftar would discuss "the issue of his eventual meeting with the prime minister" of Libya's recognised government, Fayez Al Sarraj.

Field Marshal Haftar is commander of the Libyan National Army, a force allied with the elected House of Representatives administration based in eastern Libya.

"Relevant questions on reconciling the parties and the conflict will be raised," Mr Dengov said.

Oil-rich Libya has been in turmoil since the ouster of longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, turning the country into a hub for human trafficking and drawing extremist groups from the region.

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Read more:

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New UN envoy to Libya vows 'respect' for sovereignty

The rise and rise again of Libya's Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar

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The United Nations has been struggling for months to re-launch talks on a deal reached in 2015 to set up a national unity government.

The deal led to the creation of the Government of National Accord that began operating in Tripoli last year but has been rejected by the HOR and other factions.

Mr Al Sarraj has failed to assert authority outside of Tripoli since being appointed to lead the GNA last year, while Field Marshal Haftar's forces this month scored a major victory when they seized Benghazi, Libya's second city, from extremist militias.

The two men reached agreement on a new peace initiative during talks hosted last month by French president Emmanuel Macron.

In a 10-point joint declaration, Mr Al Sarraj and Field Marshal Haftar agreed to work on a road map for security and defence, unifying national institutions such as the National Oil Corporation and the central bank, and hold elections as soon as possible.

Field Marshal Haftar's Libyan National Army is backed by Russia, Egypt and the UAE, which hosted a meeting between the military commander and Mr Al Sarraj earlier this year.