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Russia lends support to Hafar's Libya cease-fire plan

A view of Al-Watiya airbase, previously occupied by Khalifa Haftar's militias, is seen after the Libyan army retook it as part of its 'Volcano of Rage' Operation in Tripoli, Libya on May 18, 2020 [Hazem Turkia / Anadolu Agency]
A view of Al-Watiya airbase, previously occupied by Khalifa Haftar's militias, is seen after the Libyan army retook it as part of its 'Volcano of Rage' Operation in Tripoli, Libya on May 18, 2020 [Hazem Turkia / Anadolu Agency]

Russia on Saturday announced its support for a cease-fire in Libya which was signed by Khalifa Haftar, after his militias faced heavy losses in recent days.

"We read the content of the Egyptian President's offer, of course, we support all kinds of offers to stop the conflicts in Libya as soon as possible," said Mikhail Bogdanov, special representative of Russia to the Middle East and African countries, according to the Ria News Agency.

Haftar and his allies gathered in the Egyptian capital on Saturday to sign the Cairo Declaration. The initiative calls for a cease-fire in Libya as of Monday and setting up a new organisation to form the House of Representatives and the Presidential Council.

Bogdanov underlined that Russia was expecting this declaration.

Appearing at a news conference in Cairo alongside Sisi, Haftar agreed to a new political initiative that analysts say could dilute his power in his eastern home territory and may demonstrate the impatience of his foreign backers.

The GNA seemed poised to reject Egypt's proposals, which included a ceasefire from Monday and a longer-term peace plan, but its war with Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east still seems far from over.

Both sides' foreign backers may be unwilling to curtail efforts to expand their regional ambitions. The LNA still controls the east as well as most of Libya's oil fields in the south.

Read: Libya's GNA capture Haftar's last stronghold Tarhuna

Libya's internationally recognised government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019. In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital, and recently regained strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar's forces.

Read: Libyan army downs UAE drone in Sirte

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