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Iran Press TV

EU calls on warring sides in Libya to stop fighting, join peace efforts

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 10 June 2020 6:26 AM

The European Union (EU) has called on all warring parties in Libya to instantly halt military operations there and take part in constructive peace talks.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and the foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Italy urged all sides to the conflict in Libya to immediately agree on a truce deal and withdraw all foreign forces, mercenaries, and military hardware.

The statement followed intensified diplomatic activity by Germany to press for a political solution to the Libyan conflict, with Chancellor Angela Merkel raising concerns in a Tuesday phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the recent escalation of fighting around the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

The German leader had also on Monday discussed Libya with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Libyan rebels under the command of a military strongman, named Khalifa Haftar, have been fighting to overtake Tripoli and unseat the internationally-recognized government of Libya for over a year. Haftar receives backing from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, and Russia.

The Libyan government receives backing from Turkey.

Berlin has insisted that a peace process for Libya launched in Germany on the auspices of the United Nations (UN) be solely pursued. Egypt has unilaterally proposed a parallel process.

Haftar has rejected several attempts at bringing about peace in Libya, including at the Berlin Conference. The presence of foreign patrons with competing regional interests has only compounded the conflict.

Recent weeks have seen a turning point in the fighting, with the Libyan government achieving the upper hand against the rebels on several fronts.

Haftar falls from grace?

Meanwhile, "informed sources" cited by The New Arab (al-Araby al-Jadeed) have said Haftar currently remains in the Egyptian capital of Cairo and although he is not yet under arrest, his state sponsors have come to the final conclusion that he should no longer play a role in Libya's affairs.

The sources said that the renegade general would have little role in the next phase of Libyan developments and would gradually fade away from news headlines in the countries that have supported him.

According to the sources, following Haftar's recent battleground setbacks, Egypt, France, and the UAE forged a consensus on ending his role, noting that Russia and the US were also on board.

They said no positive outcome for regional stability could be anticipated with Haftar's presence since he was not bound by the commitments he made to the countries that backed him.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said on Monday that he and US President Donald Trump had come to unspecified agreements about the Libyan conflict in a phone conversation. "A new era between Turkey and the US may start after our phone call," Erdogan had said.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

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