Talks in Russia aimed at agreeing on an unconditional and open-ended ceasefire in Libya failed to achieve a breakthrough on Monday and have been adjourned for the night.
While Libya’s leaders made some progress at indirect peace talks in Moscow, failed to agree on an open-ended ceasefire to end a nine-month war over the capital Tripoli.
The head of the UN-supported Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, signed a draft ceasefire agreement, while Khalifa Haftar – commander of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) – requested more time to consider it.
In talks that lasted about eight hours, mediators Russia and Turkey urged the rivals to sign a binding truce and pave the way for a settlement that would stabilise the country.
France 24 reports that Fayez al-Serraj, who heads Libya’s Tripoli-based internationally recognised government which has struggled to fend off an offensive by the eastern based Libya National Army (LNA) faction, signed the ceasefire agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“Today we can report that some progress was made,” Lavrov told reporters at the elegant 19th century Moscow mansion where the talks were held. But Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said LNA commander Khalifa Haftar had asked for until Tuesday morning to make up his mind on the ceasefire. In a sign the LNA might continue its offensive, it said on an official website that it was “ready and determined” to achieve victory. It gave no details, but another website close to the force said Haftar will not sign the ceasefire proposal. Pro-LNA channels said Haftar had already left Moscow.
Turkish News Agency Anadolu writes that Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday that a draft text on a possible cease-fire in Libya had emerged during talks in Moscow. “We made out a draft text containing the modalities of a possible cease-fire,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint press briefing with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Cavusoglu said Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar had requested time until Tuesday morning to consider the cease-fire deal, the Russian side told the Turkish side.
He said that Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalid al-Mishri, chairman of the High Council of State of Libya, had signed the document and handed it to the Turkish side.
Cavusoglu said if Haftar side signs the document on Tuesday, the two sides will have realized on paper their oral promise of a cease-fire in the wake of a call by the Turkish and Russian presidents.
“Then we will continue working with Russia to maintain the cease-fire and accelerate the political process, including the UN and Berlin processes,” he added. Lavrov, for his part, characterized the talks as “intensive consultations” aiming to clarify issues related to the cease-fire.
According to the draft document, the sides will undertake to observe the truce regime without preconditions. They also agree to create a special commission charged with the task of determining the contact line and the mechanism for monitoring it.
They also vow to abandon any offensive actions against each other and to take measures to stabilize the situation in the capital Tripoli and other areas. On Jan. 12, the warring sides in the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a call by Turkish President Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Putin.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.