Haftar backs ceasefire from Monday, says Egypt’s president

Sisi urges international support for the initiative and calls for UN to invite rival administrations for talks. (Bernama pic)

CAIRO: Strongman Khalifa Haftar has backed a ceasefire in Libya starting Monday, Egypt’s president announced after talks in Cairo, following a series of military victories by the country’s UN-recognised government.

“This initiative calls for respecting all international efforts and initiatives by declaring a ceasefire from 0600 Monday June 8, 2020,” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told a news conference.

He was speaking alongside Haftar and his ally, eastern parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.

Sisi urged international support for the initiative and called on the United Nations to invite Libya’s rival administrations in the east and the west for talks.

The initiative, called the “Cairo declaration”, urged the withdrawal of “foreign mercenaries from all Libyan territory,” he said.

It also called for “dismantling militias and handing over their weaponry so that Libya’s National Army (led by Haftar) would be able to carry out its military and security responsibilities and duties,” he added.

The Egyptian president also said the initiative paves the way for forming an elected presidential council in Libya.

He added that it prevents “extremist militias” from gaining control over the country’s resources.

Libya has plunged into chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

It is split between two rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by scores of militias struggling for power.

Eastern-based Haftar has since last year sought to regain control over the west, fighting the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in an abortive attempt to seize the capital Tripoli.

His forces have in recent weeks lost crucial ground to GNA forces, which are backed by Turkey.

Haftar is supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as well as Russia.