Libya : Putin, Erdogan Call for Cease-Fire

This was after a crucial meeting between the two leaders in the Turkish capital Istanbul.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Teyyip Erdogan have called for a cease-fire in Libya from January 12, 2020 at midnight. The announcement was made on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 during a joint press conference by foreign ministers of both countries. Their declaration opens another room for peace negotiations after several fruitless attempts by African Union, the United Nations and Western powers to end the internal conflict.

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Moscow and Ankara are backing rival sides in the Libyan civil war. Erdogan sent military forces on Sunday to support the internationally recognised Government of National Unity (GNA) in Tripoli. Russian mercenaries of the Kremlin-linked Wagner group are fighting with General Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are laying siege to Tripoli. 

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Early this week General Haftar whose forces control the Eastern part of the country announced the capturing of the town of Sirte the home town of former Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi which is a strategic town in the region. "I would like to emphasize the call that Presidents Putin and Erdogan addressed to all the Libyan sides  to immediately stop fighting, starting from 00:00 on Jan. 12," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a joint press conference in Istanbul with Russian Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

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Cavusoglu said the cease-fire is aimed at helping to secure the success of a planned meeting in Berlin later this month to resolve the Libyan conflict.

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"We have been working especially with our Russian partners to achieve a cease-fire in Libya," Cavusoglu added.

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But with Haftar forces at the gates of Tripoli and having powerful backers other than Russia, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it remains unclear whether the cease-fire call will be heeded.

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