Turkey asks Russia to get Libya’s Haftar to accept ceasefire

Turkey’s Erdogan and Russia’s Putin called for a truce in Libya starting from midnight on Saturday.

Haftar’s forces target a home in Libya
Turkey backs the GNA while Russia has sent support to commander Haftar's opposing forces to the east [Reuters]

Turkey has asked Russia to convince eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar to respect a ceasefire initiative by Ankara and Moscow that he has rejected. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin called for a ceasefire on Wednesday in Istanbul.

“We are waiting for our Russian friends to succeed in convincing Haftar,” Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference on Saturday.

In a statement read by his spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari, renegade military commander Haftar claimed that a revival of the political process and the country’s stability could only be assured by the “eradication of terrorist groups” and the dissolution of the militia controlling Tripoli. 

An adviser to Haftar later told AFP news agency that Haftar’s position did not amount to a rejection of the ceasefire initiative, but rather “conditions that must be fulfilled” ahead of any truce. 

Turkey backs Fayez al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognised by the United Nations, while Russia has sent support to Haftar’s opposing forces to the east.

In April, Haftar’s forces launched an offensive on the capital, seat of the GNA.

Turkey’s Cavusoglu accused “regional nations” – a reference to Arab countries backing Haftar and also to France – of opposing a ceasefire.

“France is looking for any means to sabotage any initiative which it is not party to,” he said.

Last week, Turkey started deploying troops in Libya to back the GNA.

Cavusoglu also said on Saturday that a new ceasefire brokered by Ankara and Moscow was due to come into force at 00:01 GMT on Sunday in Idlib, the last rebel bastion in Syria’s northwest.

“We hope that it will be lasting this time and that Russia will be able to control the regime forces,” he said.

Influence of military commanders rising in Libya

Source: AFP