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Libya Cease-Fire Talks In Moscow Adjourned Until January 14


The rival sides in the Libyan conflict have agreed to a cease-fire proposed by Turkey and Russia.

Peace talks in Moscow between Libya's warring rival leaders have been adjourned for the night after the two on January 13 considered cease-fire proposals from Russia and Turkey.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya's UN-recognized government in Tripoli, and his rival Khalifa Haftar -- the commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) -- met with top diplomats and military officials from Russia and Turkey for the talks that lasted about seven hours.

The talks took place behind closed doors, and Sarraj and Haftar didn't meet directly. A tentative truce came into force on January 12.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that Sarraj signed the draft agreement, but that Haftar requested more time to consider it.

The truce saw a lull in heavy fighting and air strikes, although both sides have accused each other of violating it as skirmishes continued around the capital.

Many observers say a cease-fire will be hard to maintain given the fractious, unsteady nature of Libya’s military alliances.

The North African country has been torn by violence since longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

The country has two rival administrations: the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and Haftar's in the city of Tobruk.

The GNA is supported by NATO-member Turkey and its ally Qatar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced earlier this month that he had dispatched military elements to Libya to ensure stability for the GNA.

UN experts and diplomats say that Russian military contractors in recent months have deployed alongside Haftar's LNA, which has also received air support from the United Arab Emirates and backing from Jordan and Egypt.

Turkey and Russia have both been criticized by UN and Western officials who say their efforts to arm their allies have led to an intensification of the violence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any direct military involvement in the Libyan conflict.

While delivering a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on January 11, Putin was asked whether Russian mercenaries, including private military contractors, are fighting in Libya.

“If there are Russian citizens there, they don’t represent the interests of the Russian state and don’t receive money from the Russian government,” Putin said.

Merkel said she hoped the "Turkish-Russian [cease-fire] efforts will be successful."

Berlin and Moscow are acting as mediators in the conflict, which Germany has warned could become a "second Syria."

Putin said, "I am really counting on the opposing sides in Libya ceasing fire, ceasing armed combat...within a few hours."

"It's important to bring an end to the armed confrontation,” he added.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, TASS, Interfax, Current Time, dpa, and TASS
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