Libya's government, rebels agree to ceasefire brokered by Turkey, Russia
Iran Press TV
Sunday, 12 January 2020 9:58 AM
Libya's internationally-recognized government and militia groups under the command of renegade General Khalifa Haftar have agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey.
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in a Saturday statement announced a ceasefire from midnight (2200 GMT), but he also underlined the "legitimate right" of government forces to "respond to any attack or aggression that may come from the other camp."
The announcement came hours after Haftar's forces announced a let-up in their months-long offensive to seize the Libyan capital of Tripoli from the government.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, issued the call for a truce between the two rival forces following a bilateral meeting in Istanbul on Wednesday, with Haftar initially pushing back against the ceasefire deal and vowing to fight on.
Both sides accuse each other of violating ceasefire
But hours later, both the government and Haftar's forces accused each other of violating the ceasefire.
The government said it recorded violations "minutes" after the ceasefire began. Haftar's militia also said the government was breaching the truce on multiple fronts.
Backed by Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, Haftar's forces launched an offensive against the capital last April to unseat the United Nations (UN)-recognized government of Serraj. But the militia forces have been bogged down on the city's outskirts.
More than 1,000 people have been killed and at least 5,000 others wounded since the start of Haftar's military operation, according to the UN.
Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival camps: the government in Tripoli, and a camp based in the eastern city of Tobruk. Haftar commands the forces purportedly fighting for the eastern camp.
The country has been the scene of chaos since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military intervention.
The Turkish government, which supports the government in Tripoli, recently deployed 350 troops to Libya.
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