Eastern Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar are rejecting Turkey and Russia’s call for a cease-fire starting Sunday.
Haftar’s Libyan National Army issued a statement Thursday, saying it appreciates their effort to “seek peace and stability,” but it will continue the war against “terrorist groups,” meaning the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.
That Tripoli-based government, led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, said it welcomes the truce along with “the resumption of the political process and the elimination of the specter of war.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a joint statement earlier this week that “seeking a military solution to the ongoing conflict in Libya only causes further suffering and deepens the divisions among Libyans. The worsening situation in Libya is undermining the security and stability of Libya’s wider neighborhood, the entire Mediterranean region, as well as the African continent.”
Rival governments led by Haftar and Sarraj are battling for control of Libya. Haftar’s forces seized the key Mediterranean port city of Sirte earlier this week, but the fight for the capital, Tripoli, has been stalled since April with hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle.
Russia supports Haftar’s forces while Turkey has begun deploying troops to Libya to back Sarraj.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is warning all sides against letting Libya become a “second Syria,” as he called for an arms embargo and a political settlement.