Turkish Foreign Ministry rejects Libya cease-fire

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.

al-monitor A fighter loyal to Libya’s internationally recognised government celebrates after regaining control over Tarhouna city, Libya, June 5, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny.

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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About Cholo Brooks 14923 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.