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Forces of Libyan commander Haftar announce conditional ceasefire

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The Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar on Saturday declared a ceasefire after Russia and Turkey suggested ways to de-escalate hostilities with the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli.

The ceasefire starting 00:01 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, January 12, is conditional on acceptance by their rivals over suggestions by Russian President Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul earlier this week, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari was quoted as saying by Russia Today.

Haftar, initially, had rejected the proposal.

"We welcome Putin's call for a ceasefire. However, our fight against terrorist organisations that seized Tripoli and received support of some countries will continue until the end," Mismari said.

Haftar's position seems to have changed now.

The Tripoli-based government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj backed the ceasefire immediately, releasing a statement on late Wednesday that showed its full support of "any serious calls for the resumption of the political process and the elimination of the spectre of war."

Libya has been torn apart by warring factions seeking control of the nation since a US-led NATO intervention to overthrow the government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The LNA controls most of the country, but the Government of National Accord (GNA) was internationally recognised as in charge of the capital.

The fighting between the two sides intensified over the last few months with LNA advancing towards Tripoli and Turkey sending troops to support the government there. Other countries got involved as well recently.

Germany also suggested to organising a peace conference in Berlin to find a political solution to the conflict. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also called for ending hostilities between the two warring sides in the troubled North Africa country earlier last Sunday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 12 2020. 06:17 IST