Russia says that progress has been made in the indirect peace negotiations intended to bring an end to the conflict in Libya, even though no indefinite ceasefire agreement has been signed.
“Today we can report that certain progress has been made,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a press conference on Monday. Lavrov described the eight hours of parallel negotiations as “serious”. The talks were mediated by Lavrov himself, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu.
Fayez Sarraj, leader of the Tripol-based internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), agreed to sign a memorandum to cease offensive military activity and establish a commission to determine a demarcation line between the conflicting sides.
However, Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), who has recently had some success in his offensive against Tripoli, asked for extra time to consider the proposal, and left Moscow on Tuesday without signing the agreement.
Haftar later told the Middle Eastern media that the Russian-Turkish plan “neglected many of the LNA’s demands, including the determination of a deadline for the disbanding of government forces and the formation of a government of national unity”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that Haftar simply broke his promise to sign the agreement during the talks in Moscow.
Lavrov stressed that Moscow will continue to work on the Libyan conflict until a result is achieved.
Both Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are calling for an end to the conflict, although they support different sides.
Even though the negotiations did not result in an agreement being signed, they do emphasize Moscow’s growing influence in the Middle Eastern region.
New Libya peace talks are scheduled to be held this Sunday in Berlin, where Putin and Erdogan are expected to be joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
During her recent visit to Moscow, Merkel welcomed Russia and Turkey’s peace efforts, and expressed hope that the conference in Berlin would mark the beginning of “a peaceful and sovereign state”.
According to the Kremlin’s press service, Putin informed Merkel of the outcome of the Moscow talks in a phone call on Tuesday.
Cavusoglu, however, remarked that the LNA’s refusal to compromise calls into question the point of holding the conference.
“A conference on Libya in Berlin is pointless if Khalifa Haftar does not change his position,” he said.