Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Khalifa Haftar returned to Benghazi late Monday, after eight hours of negotiations with Government of National Accord (GNA) head Fayez Al-Sarraj in Moscow that failed to deliver on a ceasefire agreement.
The Al-Arabiya news outlet reports that “clashes renewed in Salah al-Din, south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, while the Libyan National Army announced on Facebook that its members were ‘ready and determined to achieve victory.'”
Libyan media said that while the GNA accepted a ceasefire, it wanted Haftar and the LNA to withdraw to the territory held before Haftar launched his offensive on Tripoli in April. Haftar balked, while also refusing to allow Turkey, which has aligned itself with the GNA, to exercise any authority in implementing the deal.
Haftar had rejected a ceasefire as recently as Thursday night, saying he welcomed Russia’s interest but resisted Turkey’s involvement. He then reversed course, with an LNA spokesman presenting a deal and Haftar agreeing to participate in negotiations. The ceasefire signatures were expected on Monday.
Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia proposed a Sunday start time to end the fighting in a message last week, amid intense diplomatic activity within the international community, including Egypt, Algeria, Italy and Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Putin on Saturday, and confirmed that Germany will host the Berlin conference meant to end the crisis in Libya. “The joint call by Russia and Turkey for a ceasefire from January 12 is a step in the right direction,” she said. “Germany hopes that the Russian-Turkish efforts will bring success.”
It hasn’t, but Western nations and Gulf states have urged a return to talks that were moving toward reconciliation and a Libyan election when Haftar launched his offensive, while warning against foreign interference in Libya.
Turkey, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are among states sending troops or other support to the warring sides, while United Nations representative Ghassan Salamé has become increasingly frustrated by arms embargo violations and other interference.