Egypt's President Sisi proposes peace initiative for Libya amid Haftar's failed offensive for Tripoli
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 06 June 2020 6:11 PM
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, flanked by renegade Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, has announced a new peace initiative for Libya in the wake of the collapse of a long-running offensive to oust a UN-backed government in the capital Tripoli.
Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, known as the Government of National Accord (GNA), and another group under Haftar's command and based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is supported militarily by forces loyal to him and is collectively known as the Libyan National Army (LNA).
The strongman, supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, launched a deadly offensive to capture Tripoli, the seat of the GNA, in April last year. His forces, however, failed to advance past the city's outskirts. Earlier this week, they even lost those areas to the advancing GNA forces.
On Saturday, Sisi, also flanked by the head of the eastern Libyan Parliament Aguila Saleh, proposed a unilateral ceasefire starting on Monday.
"This initiative calls for respecting all international efforts and initiatives by declaring a ceasefire from 0600 (0400 GMT) Monday June 8, 2020," Sisi said, urging international support for the initiative, known as the 'Cairo Declaration.'
The Egyptian president said the initiative included a call for talks between Libya's warring sides in Geneva, then the election of a leadership council, the disbanding of militias and the exit of all foreign fighters from the North African country.
However, the Tripoli Parliament, closely aligned with the GNA, dismissed Sisi's offer as that of a defeated force.
In recent months, the Turkish government, a close ally of Tripoli, has significantly helped the GNA push back Haftar's rebel forces and take back some areas. Ankara has been providing the government with logistics and military equipment.
Furthermore, and in a controversial move, Ankara has sent thousands of Turkish-backed militants from Syria there to allegedly fight alongside the government forces against Haftar's forces.
In the joint press conference in Cairo on Saturday, Haftar, for his part, said that he hoped the Egyptian president could make "urgent and effective efforts to compel Turkey to completely stop the transfer of weapons and mercenaries to Libya."
The United Arab Emirates was quick to announce its full support for Sisi's declaration.
Separately on Saturday, the GNA's army launched an operation to liberate some cities from the clutches of Haftar's LNA, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
In a statement, military spokesman Abdel-Hadi Dara said the operation, 'Path of Victory', aims to liberate the cities of Sirte and Jufra and the towns of Wadi Wishka, Buerat, Jarif and Qasr Abu Haid.
He further said GNA fighter jets had already struck two military vehicles belonging to Haftar's forces south of Wadi Wishka.
On Friday, the GNA forces managed to liberate the strategic city of Tarhuna – the last stronghold of Haftar in western Libya.
The all-out 'Volcano of Rage' operation, part of the larger 'Operation Peace Storm', was launched by GNA forces in April to liberate Tarhuna. The GNA launched 'Operation Peace Storm' on March 26 to counter Haftar's attacks on Tripoli.
Multiple international attempts to bring about peace between the two warring sides in Libya have failed.
Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster, and later killing, of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
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