Libya ceasefire talks in Moscow adjourned
MOSCOW: Talks in Moscow about bringing an end to Libya's long-running civil war have been adjourned for the night after the country's rival governments on Monday considered ceasefire proposals from Russia and Turkey.
Fayez Sarraj, the head of Libya's U.N.-recognized government in Tripoli, and his rival met with top diplomats and military officials from Russia and Turkey for the talks that lasted about seven hours. The negotiations were held behind closed doors, and Sarraj and Hifter didn't meet directly. A tentative truce came into force on Sunday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Sarraj signed the draft agreement, but that Hifter requested more time to consider it. "They have a positive view of the document and asked for extra time until the next morning to decide," Lavrov said of Hifter and his delegation. "I hope they will make a positive decision. Russian and Turkish representatives will continue to offer their assistance." The truce marks the first break in fighting in months. There were immediate reports of violations by both sides, however, raising concerns it might not hold.
The civil war had been on the brink of a major escalation. Various foreign players back Libya's rival governments, and they have recently been stepping up their involvement in the oil-rich nation's conflict.
Libya plunged into turmoil after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar
The eastern government is supported by France, Russia and key Arab countries, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Turkey, Italy and Qatar support the Tripoli government, which has faced an offensive by Hifter's forces, which closed in on the capital.
Russia has maintained contacts with both conflicting parties in Libya, but the government in Tripoli has recently charged that Russian military contractors were fighting alongside Hifter.
Asked Saturday about Russian private security companies in Libya, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded that "if there are Russian citizens there, they do not represent the interests of the Russian state and do not receive any money from the Russian state." agencies
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