Politics, Middle East, Africa

Libya welcomes Turkey-Russia cease-fire call

Turkish, Russian presidents have called for cease-fire in Libya

Waleed Abdullah   | 09.01.2020
Libya welcomes Turkey-Russia cease-fire call

TRIPOLI, Libya 

Libya's parliament in Tripoli on Thursday welcomed a joint call by the Turkish and Russian presidents to cease-fire in the war-ravaged country. 

"Any initiative must not affect the right of the National Accord government and its national army to defend the Libyan people and the capital [Tripoli]," the parliament statement said. 

It also confirmed that the Libyan crisis should only be solved through political means. 

The party that started the war -- Khalifa Haftar forces -- could not be part of any political solution, added the statement. 

On April 4, Haftar, who commands forces based in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to capture the capital Tripoli from the country's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). According to the UN, over a thousand people have been killed since the start of the operation and more than 5,000 injured.

Referring to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the statement also called on the countries backing "traitor Haftar against the legitimate government to stop giving support for him and review their positions."

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala also welcomed the results of the Russian-Turkish summit held in Istanbul on Jan. 8 in a phone talk with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Thursday. 

The two diplomats discussed the situation in Libya, urging the speedy settlement for the crisis, raging the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its official website. 

"In this context, Mohamed Taher Siala welcomed the results of the Russian-Turkish meeting at the highest level held in Istanbul on January 8," it said.

In a joint statement on Wednesday following a meeting in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul, the Turkish and Russian presidents called for a ceasefire in Libya by midnight of Jan. 12. 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin reaffirmed their “strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.”

On Jan. 2, Turkey’s parliament passed a motion allowing the government to send troops upon a request by the GNA, which has been besieged by Haftar's forces.

On Wednesday, Turkish and Russian presidents have urged for a cease-fire in Libya by midnight of Jan. 12. 

The warlord Haftar, backed by Egypt and the UAE, has made significant advances in recent weeks.

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.   

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara.

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