Libya’s Haftar positive about outcome of Moscow talks, but needs 2 days for discussions with tribal leaders – Russian MoD

14 Jan, 2020 by

Libyan National Army commander, Khalifa Haftar, second left, during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow. © Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich

The Moscow talks on Libya’s ceasefire haven’t failed despite the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) not signing an agreement. Khalifa Haftar just wanted to discuss it with tribal leaders, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier said that Haftar left for Benghazi without signing the agreement and wanted two days to discuss it. The Government of National Accord (GNA) delegation, headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, signed the agreement before leaving Moscow for Istanbul.

The Russian MoD said Haftar’s assessment of the final statement after negotiations with the rival GNA was “positive.”

But before signing, he took two days to discuss the paper with the leader of the tribes that support the LNA.

Libya remains divided since 2011 following NATO’s bombing campaign which led to the overthrow of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, and devastation of the once prosperous state.

The fighting between the internationally-recognized GNA and the LNA has intensified in recent months, with Haftar’s forces advancing on the North African country’s largest city, Tripoli.

The warring parties have been showing no desire to look for compromise, but Russia and Turkey joined forces to finally bring the LNA and GNA to the negotiating table, which is already considered a huge achievement.

Moscow and Ankara want the LNA and the GNA to sign a binding truce that will end hostilities and lay the groundwork for a peaceful settlement. The negotiations were dubbed a “first step in the right direction” by major world actors.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a summit on Libya would take place in Berlin on January 19.