Libyan leader Khalifa Haftar has rejected a call from Russia and Turkey to implement a ceasefire beginning Sunday, and said the Libyan National Army will continue its offensive against Tripoli and the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based there.
Haftar made his announcement through a LNA spokesman late Thursday, according to Agence France Presse. It followed a joint appeal from Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia on Wednesday, delivered from Ankara as Putin followed a Syria visit with a trip to Turkey.
“Lasting peace and stability in the country can only be achieved by a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process based on sincere and inclusive dialogue among Libyans,” the two said. “Seeking a military solution to the ongoing conflict in Libya only causes further suffering and deepens the divisions among Libyans.”
Haftar welcomed Russia’s interest but said the military offensive he began in April 2019 will continue, particularly in light of Turkey’s support for the GNA. His rejection follows Haftar’s visit to Italy to discuss the situation with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, while Italian foreign minister Luigi di Maio went to Ankara on Tuesday.
Di Maio and Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry then headed for a wary Algeria on Thursday, where foreign minister Sabri Boukadoum hosted talks that followed GNA leader Fayez Al-Sarraj’s visit with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune earlier in the week.
Di Maio told the Algerian Press Service that all parties support a ceasefire and share concerns that regional tensions sparked by the Libya crisis are likely to deteriorate – with the potential to spill across borders – in the absence of a political solution.
Image: LNA file