Haftar promises to respect Libya cease-fire initiative

BERLIN (AA) – Libya’s renegade commander Khalifa Haftar has promised to respect a cease-fire initiative by Turkey and Russia, following his meeting with German foreign minister in Benghazi on Thursday.

In a Twitter post, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Haftar has accepted German government’s invitation to attend Libya peace conference in Berlin on Sunday.

“General Haftar has signaled his readiness to contribute to the success of the Libya Conference in Berlin and is willing to participate. He has repeated his commitment to observe the existing cease-fire,” he said.

Germany seeks to bring countries concerned with the Libyan issue at the Berlin Conference in an attempt to reach a permanent cease-fire and to pave the way for a political solution to the conflict.

On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement on Monday after Haftar left Moscow demanding two days to consult with local Libyan tribes for their approval, while the head of Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj signed the cease-fire deal.

In April, Haftar launched an offensive to capture Tripoli which has drawn international condemnation. According to the UN, more than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the operation and more than 5,000 others injured.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.