Libya’s eastern strongman General Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LN) has been pressing a nine-month offensive against the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, left Russia without signing a ceasefire agreement, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
Leaders of the two warring parties come to Moscow on Monday to discuss an unconditional and open-ended ceasefire deal drafted at the indirect talks.
“The draft [agreement] ignores many of the Libyan army’s demands,” the Al Arabiya channel quoted Haftar as saying.
The GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj al-Sarraj had signed the draft. In contrast, Russia-backed Libyan National Army (LNA)’s Haftar had asked for extra time until Tuesday morning to consider it.
Haftar rejected Turkey’s involvement in the talks as a mediator, and demanded the formation of a U.N. committee to oversee the breakup of militias that support the Tripoli government, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat said.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the general-turned-warlord Haftar, of the consequences of resuming the attacks on Tripoli, where the UN-recognized GNA remains in power.
“We will not hesitate to teach a deserved lesson to the putschist Haftar if he continues his attacks on the country’s legitimate administration and our brothers in Libya,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.
Russian officials said they were still working with the warring sides to find an agreement.
“We will pursue our efforts in this direction. For now, a definitive result has not been achieved,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Although the Russian talks remained inconclusive, Germany will press on with another round of Libyan peace talks on Sunday in Berlin in search of a
Four multinational organizations and leaders of 12 countries, including Serraj and Haftar, were invited to the United Nations (UN)-led summit.
So far, the conference has been postponed several times due to the continuing fierce fight over Tripoli.
A fragile ceasefire that came into effect over the weekend has been continuing, although both sides are trading blame over reported breaches of the truce.
Earlier this month, the Turkish parliament passed a controversial resolution to deploy troops in the oil-rich North African country to help the GNA forces.
“The talks are in jeopardy, and in fact, the next potential reversal on the ground could be one that sets back Russia and Turkish diplomacy and provide a big
opportunity and a test in my view for Turkey’s commitment to defending the government in Tripoli,” Tarik Yousef, director of the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center, told Al Jazeera.
Libya, home to Africa’s largest proven crude reserves, has been marred by instability since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi, drawing increasing involvement from foreign powers.
According to the UN, more than 280 civilians and about 2,000 fighters have been killed, while 146,000 Libyans displaced since the start of LNA’s offensive on Tripoli.