Libyan rivals to sign ceasefire deal in Moscow Monday: official

split frame of two men speaking to the press
Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (L) speaking during a press conference in the capital Tunis on August 7, 2017 and Libyan General Khalifa Haftar (R) speaking during a press conference on September 18, 2017 at Carthage Palace in Tunis.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AFP) – The head of Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj and his rival, strongman Khalifa Haftar, are expected to sign a ceasefire agreement in Moscow on Monday, a senior Libyan official said.

The oil-rich North African country has been wracked by bloody turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with multiple foreign powers now involved.

The signing of the agreement will pave the way for the revival of the political process, said Libya’s head of High Council of State Khaled al-Mechri on the country’s al-Ahrar TV channel.

Mechri said he would accompany Sarraj to Moscow, while parliament speaker Aguila Salah will travel with Haftar.

Sarraj on Monday called on Libyans to “turn the page on the past”, as he prepared to sign the agreement.

“I call on all Libyans to turn the page on the past, reject discord and to close ranks to move towards stability and peace,” he said in a short televised speech.

Both sides in Libya’s conflict had already agreed to a ceasefire from Sunday to end nine months of fighting, following weeks of international diplomacy and calls for a truce by power-brokers Russia and Turkey.

The GNA in Tripoli had been under attack since last April from forces loyal to Haftar, which on January 6 captured the strategic coastal city of Sirte.


Two diplomats shaking hands in agreement between the Libya and Turkey flag
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hand with the head of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj (L) at the start of their meeting in Istanbul. (Photo by Mustafa Kamaci / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP)

Late on Saturday, Haftar’s forces announced a ceasefire starting at midnight (Sunday 0000 local time, Saturday 2200 GMT) in line with a joint call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Sarraj, who met Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday, confirmed the ceasefire had taken effect.

© Agence France-Presse