Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

Russia: Moscow and Ankara working on Libya ceasefire

The measure is the latest attempt to halt fighting in the country

Pro-Tripoli forces amass before they launch a push to capture Sirte. Reuters
Pro-Tripoli forces amass before they launch a push to capture Sirte. Reuters

Russia and Turkey are working on an immediate ceasefire agreement for the conflict in Libya, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Wednesday by the Interfax news agency.

Mr Lavrov said the Libyan National Army (LNA) is ready to sign a ceasefire document and hopes that Turkey will manage to convince the country's Government of National Accord (GNA) to do the same.

The measure would be the latest attempt to end fighting in the country after over a year of conflict around the capital of Tripoli.

Last year, the Libyan National Army under Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter launched an offensive to take the capital from the Government of National Accord to end the rule of militias that back the Tripoli administration.

After a near year-long stalemate, Turkey ramped up its support, sending drones, soldiers and thousands of Syrian mercenaries. The intervention led to rapid gains for the pro-Tripoli militias who have pushed the LNA back to the strategic city of Sirte.

This led Egypt to warn that the fall of Sirte could lead it to directly intervene in the conflict over fears that it would result in militant groups operating close to the porous desert border.

Several high-profile kidnappings and attacks by extremist groups against civilians, pilgrims and soldiers were launched from Libya in the years after the 2011 revolution to topple long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Russia has previously backed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's call for an immediate halt in fighting and a return to UN talks. The proposal received widespread international support but was rejected out of hand by Turkey and Tripoli.

Updated: July 8, 2020 02:46 PM

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