Talks in Moscow between the two major rivals in the Libyan civil war have been called progress and a positive development as they ended with one party signing a draft document and the other taking time until Tuesday.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have joined a ceasefire suggested by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the leaders of the two warring factions arrived in Moscow for talks aimed at brokering a lasting truce.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, acted as intermediaries in negotiations between the LNA commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the GNA head, Fayez al-Sarraj.
The negotiations ended with al-Sarraj and his allies signing the deal, and Haftar asking for some time. The draft document suggests that the hostilities would stop and all parties would observe the ceasefire without any preconditions. A commission is also to be established to determine the contact line between the GNA force and the LNA.
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Even before the outcome of the talks was known, the process received praise from some officials around the world.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the initiative of Russia and Turkey and praised the temporary truce as an important step but said that said that Libya needs a complex process of “consolidation,” which, according to her, should be supervised by the UN.
“A ceasefire, yes it is a first step in the right direction, but what you need is a process for consolidation, for reconstruction and a government of unity. There is a long way to go. This has to be a UN-led process,” she told reporters after a meeting with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also called the ceasefire “a positive signal,” adding that his nation also plans to contribute to the political process in Libya by hosting a Libya summit later in January. “We currently have a good chance of making progress here,” he said.
„Waffenstillstand in #Libyen positives Signal. Die Bundesregierung will mit Gipfel in Berlin Weg für politischen Prozess bereiten. Haben aktuell gute Chance, hier weiter zu kommen.“ Außenminister @HeikoMaas pic.twitter.com/fdtOCkHCqc
— Auswärtiges Amt (@AuswaertigesAmt) January 13, 2020
African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, emphasized Putin’s role in encouraging both warring parties to come to the negotiating table.
“I welcome this step as well as the efforts taken by President Putin,” he said, adding that “signing a ceasefire agreement should be the first step to complying with the UN Security Council’s arms embargo and putting an end to any outside interference into Libya.”
Libya was plunged into chaos for years after its longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed during a NATO-led bombing campaign. Following years of devastation and chaos, the country got engulfed in a civil war. Previous lengthy UN-backed talks on reconciliation, which led to the establishment of the GNA, failed to bring peace to the war-ravaged land.
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