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Libya’s rival leaders leave Moscow, no peace deal signed

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Libya’s
rival leaders have left Moscow without reaching agreement on a cease-fire deal
proposed by Russia and Turkey in an effort to bring an end to the country’s
long-running civil war.

Fayez
Sarraj, the head of Libya’s U.N.-recognized government in Tripoli, and his
rival Khalifa Hifter came to Moscow on Monday to discuss a truce with top
diplomats and military officials from Russia and Turkey. The talks lasted about
seven hours, and Sarraj and Hifter didn’t meet directly.

After the
meetings, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart,
Mevlut Cavusoglu, announced that Sarraj signed the draft document spelling out
the details of the proposed cease-fire deal, while Hifter requested more time
to consider it.

On Tuesday
morning, Russian Foreign Ministry said that Hifter left Moscow without signing
the deal. Russian news agencies reported Tuesday that Sarraj had also left.

Lavrov said
that efforts to broker a peace deal will continue. “We all work in the same
direction and urge all the sides (of the conflict) in Libya to negotiate
instead of trying to sort things out violently,” the minister said Tuesday.

Tripoli-based
official Khaled al-Mashri told Libya al-Ahrar TV that Hifter asked for four
days to consider various sticking points in the cease-fire deal. He said he
expects invitations to a peace conference in Berlin to follow later this week.

The
negotiations followed a truce proposed by Russia and Turkey that began Sunday —
the first break in fighting in months. There were immediate reports of
violations by both sides, however, raising concerns it might not hold.

Libya
plunged into turmoil after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time
dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The conflict had been on the brink of a major
escalation. Various foreign players back Libya’s rival governments, and they
have recently been stepping up their involvement in the oil-rich nation’s
conflict.

Turkey and Russia back the opposing governments in Libya. Their negotiations follow deals struck by the two nations to coordinate their action also in Syria, where Moscow has shored up President Bashar Assad’s government and Ankara has backed his foes.

source: AP

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