UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)
Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the strongman in eastern Libya, left Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement which his opponent had agreed to end nine months of fighting, in a setback as the peace conference date in Berlin approaches.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted the absence of a “final outcome” but stressed “continued efforts” with Ankara.
The head of the national reconciliation government recognized by the United Nations, Fayez al-Sarraj and Haftar, whose forces have been fighting for nine months, did not meet at the gates of Tripoli during the Moscow talks on Monday. But they negotiated a ceasefire agreement through the Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers.
Al-Sarraj signed the text on Monday, but Haftar left Moscow without doing so, after requesting a deadline for reflection until Tuesday morning.
These negotiations, which reflect Moscow’s growing influence on this thorny issue, took place as a result of a Russian-Turkish agreement announced in Istanbul by Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin on January 8.
In the wake of this failure, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Tuesday to “teach a lesson” to Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter if he resumed his attacks against the National Accord government in Tripoli. “We will never hesitate to teach the coup d’état Hifter the lesson he deserves if he continues his attacks against the legitimate administration and against our brothers in Libya,” he said in a speech to his party representatives.
– A conference in Berlin –
The truce applied to the ground since Sunday was supposed to be formally adopted, and the text that was negotiated Monday in Moscow.
The text, obtained by AFP, confirms support for the Turkish-Russian initiative to implement an “unlimited cessation of hostilities” in Libya. It calls for the normalization of “daily life in Tripoli and other cities” and for the safe distribution of humanitarian assistance “.”
Turkey supports Al-Sarraj and has deployed military personnel in this framework, while Moscow, despite its repeated denials, is suspected of backing Haftar with arms, money, and mercenaries.
Russian-Turkish efforts are being made while an international conference on Libya sponsored by the United Nations could be held in Berlin on January 19, as reported by Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Moscow to lay out the conference outlines with the Russian president.
Putin and Merkel held new telephone talks on Monday evening to discuss “preparations for the international conference” and “the meeting in Moscow between the warring parties.”
Lavrov said that the entire international community – Russians, Turks, Europeans, Emiratis, Algerians, Egyptians and Qataris – “encourages the Libyan parties to understand rather than settle their accounts with arms.”
For his part, the Turkish president affirmed on Tuesday, “We will discuss this issue on Sunday in the Berlin conference in which you will participate alongside Turkey, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Egypt, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates.”
At the same time, consultations are taking place at the United Nations to establish a truce observation mission, if approved.
And between Turkey entering the Libyan field and the suspicion of mercenaries and the proliferation of many armed groups – especially jihadi militants, arms smugglers and migrants – the international community fears the expansion of the Libyan conflict.
– “criminal adventure” –
Europe is particularly concerned about Libya becoming a “second Syria” and also wants to reduce the pressure of the flow of migrants on its borders because in recent years it has received hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing conflicts in the Arab world.
Moscow believes that Westerners are responsible for the conflict in Libya, which has the largest African oil reserves, because they militarily supported the rebels who toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Sergei Lavrov, who is on a visit to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, condemned the “criminal adventure” of NATO, which “destroyed the Libyan state.”
Building on its successes in Syria, Russia has strengthened its influence in the Middle East to a large extent and wants to recover what it lost in Libya, benefiting especially from the West’s failure to bring peace to this country nine years ago.
In addition to geopolitical gains at the expense of its opponents and enhancing its access to Libyan oil, Russia hopes to restore this market to its weapons and wheat. All this, along with Putin’s desire to strengthen his position in Africa.
Turkey also has oil ambitions, as reveals a controversial agreement signed by Ankara with the National Accord government, which allows the expansion of its maritime borders in an area of the eastern Mediterranean that stores large quantities of oil discovered in recent years.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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