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Libya conflict: General Haftar 'leaves' Moscow ceasefire talks without deal

Tripoli: Libya's General Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are fighting the UN-backed government in the capital Tripoli, has left talks in Moscow without signing a deal, according to media reports.

Meetings involving Gen Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA) began on Monday. Both Russia, which backs Gen Haftar, and Turkey, which supports the GNA, were behind efforts to reach a truce.

The deal was aimed at ending nine months of fighting around the capital. The violence began in April when Gen Haftar announced an offensive to seize the city from the UN-backed authorities. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned his country would "teach a lesson" to Gen Khalifa Haftar if he resumed his attacks on GNA forces in Tripoli. The role of international actors in the Libyan conflict has come into focus in recent months, with Turkey passing a controversial law to deploy troops to help GNA forces fighting in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, Gen Haftar is also backed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Jordan, raising fears that oil-rich Libya could become the theatre of a regional conflict.

Over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Berlin would to host another round of Libyan peace talks to build on the efforts by Turkey and Russia later in January. A ceasefire between Gen Haftar's LNA and forces loyal to the UN-backed government in Tripoli was announced on Sunday, although they later traded blame over reported breaches.

Leaders from both sides then travelled to Moscow for talks with Russian and Turkish intermediaries on Monday, aimed at reaching a longer term agreement. GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj signed the agreement on Monday, while Gen Haftar requested more time to review the deal. He left Moscow without signing the deal, Russian news agency TASS quoted a Foreign Ministry statement as saying. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded by saying that Gen Haftar's actions showed "who wants war and who wants peace".

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