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Libya ceasefire talks in Moscow: Good progress made although not all sides signed the deal, Lavrov says

Libya ceasefire talks in Moscow: Good progress made although not all sides signed the deal, Lavrov says
Negotiations in Moscow helped to achieve some progress in the Libyan peace process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. However, not all parties signed the document.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have agreed upon some ceasefire details, but they are still working on a document to elaborate upon some aspects of the ceasefire deal.

Some warring parties signed the agreement immediately, but General Khalifa Haftar, the LNA commander, wanted to wait until Tuesday morning to have more time to study the document.

The talks in Moscow, which involved the leaders of the major Libyan warring parties as well as foreign and defense ministers of both Russia and Turkey, lasted for more than six hours and were mostly focused on detailing the terms of the ceasefire regime. 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 and the LNA.

Lavrov also made it clear that Russia and Turkey would further lend their support to all Libyan parties to help them implement the agreement reached in Moscow.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also expressed hope that both sides would eventually commit to complying with the newly-reached agreement, paving the way for the start of political process in Libya.

According to Lavrov, the agreement was signed by Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, and Khalid al-Mishri, the head of the High Council of State, an advisory body formed after the UN-backed 2015 talks, which is technically able to advise both the GNA and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) aligned with Haftar’s LNA.

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Aguila Saleh, the head of HoR, did not sign the document. However, Lavrov hopes the group will sign it on Tuesday.

Both leaders “view this document positively and just want some extra time, until tomorrow morning, to make a final decision about signing it,” the Russian minister told journalists. “I hope, this decision will be positive,” he added.

Libya was devastated after its long-time ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, was ousted and killed during a NATO-led bombing campaign. The country was plunged into chaos in the years that followed, and eventually centers of power emerged in Tripoli and Tobruk – engulfing the nation in another civil war.

Previous UN-backed attempts to bring reconciliation to Libya eventually failed. Last year, Haftar – whose forces controlled most of the war-ravaged country – began his offensive against the internationally recognized GNA.

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Turkey got involved in the conflict in December, promising to send troops to aid GNA. Moscow and Ankara called for all parties in the Libyan civil war to end hostilities and join a ceasefire following a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

The ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey is seen as a huge breakthrough in the peace process for the war-torn country. A Libya summit is expected to take place in Berlin on Sunday.

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