Russia, Turkey to bring peace to Libya: MP

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – The joint efforts by Russia and Turkey have the potential to bring peace to conflict-hit Libya, a Russian parliamentarian said Thursday.

"The format that has been found, the format that the Russian and Turkish leaders have proposed for Libya, I think is rational," Leonid Slutsky told Anadolu Agency.

"The fact that we managed to get the signatures of Fayez al-Sarraj in the first meeting is a great success," he said, referring to the head of Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Commenting on the position of eastern Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar, who took two days to decide whether to sign the cease-fire or not at the meeting in Moscow earlier this week, Slutsky said that the commander was saving his public image.

"Haftar, as I understand it, Haftar thinks, perhaps it seems to him that to abandon his program for the capture of Tripoli means to lose face. Perhaps it's because of the external influence," Slutsky said.

He said he had high hopes in the two countries after seeing how they proved themselves in Syria.

"I believe that in the foreseeable future this format will bring a common position, as mathematicians say, a common denominator, including with Haftar and his supporters, and will bring a sustainable cease-fire. Therefore, we need to move within this format. Let's see what the conference on Libya in Berlin will do on Jan. 19," he said.

Slutsky added that the talks, started in Moscow, will continue next month.

"I am sure that this format [Libyan sides, Russia, Turkey] will bring sustainable peace to Libya, and it will cease to be a country without a state," he said.

He also added that the Russian deputies have extensive contacts with Libyan parliamentarians and expressed hope this will contribute to the settlement.

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. Therefore, severe conflicts have begun between the two powers in the region.

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

On Monday, the sides in the Libyan conflict gathered in the Russian capital Moscow to discuss a cease-fire meant to end the hostilities in Libya and start a political dialogue.

However, Haftar rejected to sign the deal and he left the meeting after al-Sarraj signed the deal.