Turkey and Russia say they seek lasting ceasefire in Libya

Turkish and Russian delegations have met in Ankara to discuss the war

Fighters loyal to the Tripoli's Government of National Accord secure the area of Abu Qurain, half-way between the capital and Benghazi. AFP
Fighters loyal to the Tripoli's Government of National Accord secure the area of Abu Qurain, half-way between the capital and Benghazi. AFP

Turkish and Russian delegations met in Ankara on Wednesday and agreed to press ahead with efforts for a lasting ceasefire in Libya, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said.

A joint statement after the meeting said Turkey and Russia, which back rival parties in the conflict, agreed to work together and encourage Libya's opposing factions to create "conditions for a lasting and sustainable ceasefire".

They also agreed to joint efforts to advance a political dialogue.

Turkish-backed forces allied with the government in Tripoli are gathering on the edges of Sirte and have pledged to retake the Mediterranean city, along with the inland Jufra airbase, from forces commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafar, which are based in the east.

The Turkish and Russian delegations will consider a joint working group on Libya and were scheduled to hold more consultations in Moscow "in the near future", their statement said.

Tension has heightened between powers supporting the rival factions in Libya.

This week, Egypt's Parliament authorised sending troops outside the country in a move that threatened to escalate the war and bring Egypt and Turkey into direct confrontation.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Wednesday said achieving a political solution in Libya required a firm response to extremists and foreign interference, which "not only threaten Egypt's interests but also the security of Mediterranean countries".

He said a peace proposal announced in Cairo last month aimed to stabilise Libya and remove militants from the country.

The proposal, announced by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, included a ceasefire and a new elected presidential body representing the three Libyan regions.

Field Marshal Haftar accepted the proposal, called the Cairo Declaration, but the government in Tripoli rejected it.

Mr Shukry's comments came in calls with French and German foreign ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a Nato-backed uprising in 2011 toppled long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Updated: July 23, 2020 02:02 AM

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