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Libya’s Haftar leaves Moscow without signing ceasefire deal

Khalifa Haftar in Paris, France, in May 2018 (file photo).
Khalifa Haftar in Paris, France, in May 2018 (file photo). © Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Libya’s eastern strongman General Khalifa Haftar has left Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement to end nine months of fighting in the country, the Russian foreign ministry confirmed to AFP Tuesday.

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Haftar on Monday evening asked for until Tuesday morning to look over the agreement already signed by the head of UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj, but left the Russian capital without signing, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

The two delegations from Libya on Monday spent seven hours in an attempt to sign a deal outlining the terms of a permanent truce in Libya, following a ceasefire that took effect over the weekend.

 


Mediated by Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers, the talks did not include the warring sides meeting face to face, but Moscow said there was “progress” and that Haftar viewed the ceasefire document “positively”.

Russian state media citing Libyan sources later said however that his plane departed Russia after a failure to reach a permanent agreement, leaving the fragile truce in uncertainty.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he would “teach a lesson” to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar if he resumed fighting after abandoning ceasefire talks in Moscow.

“We will not hesitate to teach a deserved lesson to the putschist Haftar if he continues his attacks on the country’s legitimate administration and our brothers in Libya,” Erdogan told a meeting of his party in Ankara in a televised speech.

Erdogan said the issue would now be discussed at talks in Berlin on Sunday attended by European, North African and Middle Eastern countries, as well as the UN, EU, Africa Union and Arab League.

“The putschist Haftar did not sign the ceasefire. He first said yes, but later unfortunately he left Moscow, he fled Moscow,” Erdogan said.

“Despite this, we find the talks in Moscow were positive as they showed the true face of the putschist Haftar to the international community.”

Western powers are keen to stabilise Libya – home to Africa’s largest proven crude reserves – following years of turbulence since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

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