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Russian FM Lavrov: Turkey, Russia working on Libya cease-fire

Turkey and Russia are working on an immediate cease-fire in Libya, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Interfax news agency Wednesday.

Lavrov said the putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s self-titled Libyan National Army (LNA), which Russia backs, is ready to sign a cease-fire document and hopes that Turkey will manage to convince the country’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) to do the same.

The GNA and the western parts of the country it controls have been under attack by Haftar forces since April 2019. Haftar is supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia.

In March, the GNA forces launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital and recently regained strategic locations, including the al-Watiya air base and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

The Libyan Army has made significant military gains against Haftar’s militias in recent weeks, capturing all the cities west of Libya down to the borders with Tunisia.

Previously, several U.N.-backed attempts to reach a cease-fire between Libya’s two rival forces have failed, and the world body has slammed repeated violations of a 2011 weapons embargo.

On Jan. 12, parties in Libya announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by the leaders of Turkey and Russia. But talks for a permanent cease-fire ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

A week later, Haftar accepted the terms in Berlin to designate members to a U.N.-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire. However, his blockade of Libyan oil fields overshadowed the summit in Berlin aimed at shoring up the shaky truce.

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