11 Jan, 2020
The Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar and the Tripoli-based GNA have declared a ceasefire starting midnight January 12, after Russian and Turkish leaders suggested it as a way to de-escalate hostilities.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also called for an end to hostilities between the two warring sides in the troubled North African country after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier on Sunday, and promised to hold a peace conference in Berlin.
The Tripoli-based, internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) confirmed that the head of the Presidency Council agreed to a ceasefire “starting 00:00 on Jan. 12.” The ceasefire is conditioned on the rival side upholding it, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari said.
The truce was suggested by Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul earlier this week, but Haftar initially rejected it. “We welcome Putin’s call for a ceasefire. However, our fight against terrorist organizations that seized Tripoli and received support of some countries will continue until the end,” he said through a representative.
Haftar’s position seems to have changed now. The Tripoli-based government led by PM Fayez al-Sarraj backed the ceasefire immediately, releasing a statement late Wednesday that showed its full support for “any serious calls for the resumption of the political process and the elimination of the specter of war.”
Libya has been torn apart by warring factions seeking control of the nation since a US-led NATO intervention to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Libyan National Army controls most of the country, but the GNA is internationally recognized. The fighting between the two sides intensified over the last few months, with the LNA advancing towards Tripoli and Turkey sending troops to support the government there. Other countries have also become involved recently: Italian PM Giuseppe Conte met with Haftar in Rome and Sarraj met with European Council President Charles Michel and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell in Brussels.
Germany suggested holding a peace conference in Berlin to find a political solution to the conflict.