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Egypt Announces Initiative to End war in Libya

Egypt Announces Initiative to End war in Libya

Saturday, 06 June 2020 09:38 AM

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s president Saturday announced a unilateral initiative to end the civil war in neighboring Libya, a plan accepted by the commander of the eastern forces that have suffered heavy defeats in recent weeks.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told a news conference in Cairo that his initiative includes a cease-fire starting Monday and is meant to pave the way for elections in oil-rich Libya.

He warned against continuing to look for a military solution to the country’s crisis.

“There can be no stability in Libya unless peaceful means to the crisis are found, that include the unity and integrity of the national institutions," el-Sissi said. “The initiative could be a new start in Libya.”

There was no immediate comment from the U.N.-supported government based in Tripoli, but a spokesman for the military forces allied with it said they would continue fighting to capture the city of Sirte, east of Tripoli, which commander Khalifa Hifter’s east-based forces took in January.

“We did not start this war, but it is we who will determine when and where it will end,” said Mohamed Gnono.

The ceremony in Cairo was attended by Hifter and Aguila Saleh, speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. Several foreign diplomats, including U.S., Russian, French and Italian envoys attended.

There were no representatives of the Tripoli-based administration, or of its main backers, Turkey and Qatar, at the ceremony.

El-Sissi said the initiative included the formation of an elected presidential council in which Libya’s three regions would be represented. That council would rule the country during a 1 1/2-year transition period followed by elections.

The plan also includes the unification of all Libyan financial and oil institutions, and the disbanding of militias, so that the so-called Libyan National Army and other security agencies can “carry out their responsibilities,” el-Sissi said.

He called for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters in Libya. Thousands of mercenaries, mostly form the war-torn Syria, have been fighting on both sides of the war.

Hifter has been waging a campaign for over a year to try to capture the capital. The military tide has been reversed in recent weeks. His forces lost several strategic spots in western Libya after Turkey increased its support to an array of militias loosely allied with the Tripoli-based government.

Hifter’s forces are supported by France, Russia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other key Arab countries. Along with Turkey, the government in Tripoli is backed by Italy and Qatar.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. The country has split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

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Egypt's president Saturday announced a unilateral initiative to end the civil war in neighboring Libya, a plan accepted by the commander of the eastern forces that have suffered heavy defeats in recent weeks.President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told a news conference in Cairo...
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2020-38-06
Saturday, 06 June 2020 09:38 AM
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