BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:10 P.M.) – The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) does not accept a ceasefire in the country, unless the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, withdraws from Sirte and Al-Jafra, and returns to the Skhirat agreement.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, in an interview with the British newspaper, the Financial Times, that no ceasefire deal will be accepted until the LNA fully withdraws from Sirte and Al-Jafra.
He said in the interview that the GNA is determined to continue its operations (against Haftar’s forces) unless Haftar withdraws from the coastal city of Sirte, and the Al-Jafra region, which hosts a strategic air base.
Cavusoglu pointed out the danger “posed by the clashes that turned into a proxy war in Libya.”
He stressed that the escalation of tension could lead to a direct conflict between foreign forces supporting the various parties in Libya.
Regarding the bombing of the Al-Watiyah Airbase in western Libya, Cavusoglu confirmed that an investigation had been opened, and that those responsible for the bombing would be held accountable for their actions.
He pointed to the presence of Turkish advisers and technicians at the Al-Watiyah base, “which was liberated from Haftar forces on May 18,” and that the Turkish crew was not harmed by the bombing of the base.
Cavusoglu stated that during the visit of a delegation to Istanbul last month, Russia made a “concrete offer on the armistice with a specific date and hour for the armistice in Libya.”
However, he added that in the Turkish talks with the Libyan government, the latter set a precondition for the truce, which is the withdrawal of Haftar from Sirte and Al-Jafra, and returns to the line of the Skhirat Agreement signed in 2015.
The Turkish Minister continued, “The issue is now related to the other parties, and they must accept these preconditions for a sustainable ceasefire.”
He stressed that Turkey does not support any increase in tension or war in the region, “while others support the usurper Haftar.”
It should be noted that the LNA demanded on Sunday, the end of all GNA operations around Sirte and Al-Jafra, pointing out that these areas are Egypt’s ‘red line’.