German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Libya’s General Khalifa Haftar has agreed in principle to a cease-fire in the country.
Maas flew to Benghazi at short notice on Thursday for crisis talks with Haftar, who is the commander of eastern Libyan forces, ahead of Sunday’s Libya conference to be held in Berlin.
“General Haftar has signaled his readiness to contribute to the success of the Libya Conference in Berlin and is willing to participate,” Germany’s Foreign Office said in a tweet. “He has repeated his commitment to observe the existing cease-fire,” the tweet added.
Bei meinem Besuch heute in #Libyen hat General Haftar deutlich gemacht: Er will zum Erfolg der Libyen-Konferenz in Berlin einen Beitrag leisten und ist grundsätzlich bereit teilzunehmen. Er hat zugesagt, den bestehenden Waffenstillstand einzuhalten. pic.twitter.com/4VjH4yHByT
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) January 16, 2020
Earlier in the week, Haftar refused to sign a cease-fire agreement in Moscow with his rival, Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.
Following the meeting with Maas, Haftar is now expected to join the Libya summit.
“It is a good message that he is willing to keep to the cease-fire,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said later on Thursday.
“At the Libya conference we must above all see that the weapons embargo is adhered to again, which is basically agreed by the UN but unfortunately not kept to,” she added.
During his trip, Maas also was expected to speak on behalf of EU foreign ministers to Sarraj, who leads the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Sarraj will also attend the peace summit.
In an unexpected move, Haftar traveled to Athens directly after meeting Maas. Greece said they will block any peace deal in Libya unless an agreement between Libya and Turkey on maritime borders is scrapped, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday.
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