Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dismissed an Egypt-brokered cease-fire in Libya, as Tripoli forces pursue an offensive on Sirte after a string of victories.
ISTANBUL – The Libyan conflict has entered a new stage after Tripoli forces, aided by Turkish military support, repelled a 14-month offensive on the capital and pushed back the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter in recent weeks.
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and his Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have turned the tide in the nine-year war with a string of victories and are now waging a battle to retake the strategic city of Sirte, where they are being met with resistance from LNA forces backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Weakened by recent defeats, Hifter accepted a cease-fire sponsored by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a visit to Cairo June 6. Yet Sarraj dismissed the truce, expanding frontlines eastward through the country, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu echoed the rejection while speaking to Turkish media June 9.
“The cease-fire effort in Cairo was stillborn. If a cease-fire is to be signed, it should be done at a platform that brings everyone together,” Cavusoglu told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper. “The cease-fire call to save Hifter does not seem sincere or believable to us.”
The developments raise the prospects for further conflicts between Libya’s warring sides and cast doubts on Hifter’s political future, yet observers say many uncertainties remain as the outcome of battles in Sirte and Jufra will be largely dependent on military support from the LNA’s foreign backers.
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