Haf­tar to take 2 more days to dis­cuss deal; Ber­lin talks on Jan­uary 19


Gulf News - - Front Page -

Rus­sia’s De­fence Min­istry said yes­ter­day that Khal­ifa Haf­tar, com­man­der of forces in east­ern Libya, had been pos­i­tive about a cease­fire deal drafted at talks in Moscow and is tak­ing two days to dis­cuss it, the In­ter­fax news agency re­ported.

Rus­sia’s De­fence Min­istry said the readi­ness of par­ties in the Libyan con­flict to sup­port a cease­fire had cre­ated a pos­i­tive at­mos­phere, In­ter­fax re­ported, amid a diplo­matic push to sta­bilise the sit­u­a­tion there.

The deal was pro­posed by Rus­sia and Turkey in an ef­fort to bring an end to the north African coun­try’s long-run­ning civil war.

Fayez Sar­raj, the head of Libya’s gov­ern­ment in Tripoli, and Haf­tar came to Moscow on Mon­day for talks with top diplo­mats and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials from Rus­sia and Turkey. The talks lasted about seven hours, though Sar­raj and Haf­tar didn’t meet di­rectly.

They con­sid­ered a draft doc­u­ment spell­ing out de­tails of a truce pro­posed jointly by Rus­sia and Turkey that be­gan Sun­day. Sar­raj signed the draft be­fore de­part­ing, while Haf­tar re­quested more time to con­sider it and then left Moscow with­out sign­ing the doc­u­ment. In Ankara, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan vowed to teach Haf­tar “the les­son he de­serves” if at­tacks on the Tripoli gov­ern­ment con­tin­ued.

Ad­dress­ing his rul­ing party’s leg­is­la­tors, Er­do­gan praised Sar­raj, say­ing he had dis­played “an ex­tremely con­struc­tive and com­pro­mis­ing” stance dur­ing the talks in Moscow.

Ber­lin Con­fer­ence

Mean­while, Ger­many’s Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel has in­vited gov­ern­ment and state lead­ers to a Libya con­fer­ence in Ber­lin for Jan­uary 19.

Rus­sian gov­ern­ment ad­viser Vi­taly Naumkin said Haf­tar’s re­jec­tion of the deal “is not a to­tal col­lapse”. Both sides are in­ter­ested in go­ing to an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on Libya on Sun­day “with as strong a po­si­tion as pos­si­ble”, state news ser­vice RIA Novosti cited him as say­ing.

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