Libya’s internationally recognised government attempted to make new advances on Saturday against the forces of retreating eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, who stood by in Cairo as his ally, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, proposed a ceasefire.
Forces of the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) advanced into the central coastal city of Sirte, they and residents said, though the eastern forces said they had driven them back.
In a series of rapid victories, the GNA has, with Turkish support, suddenly brought most of northwest Libya back under its control, dashing Haftar’s bid to unite the country by force with help from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
Appearing at a news conference in Cairo alongside Sisi, Haftar agreed to a new political initiative that analysts say could dilute his power in his eastern home territory and may demonstrate the impatience of his foreign backers.
The GNA seemed poised to reject Egypt’s proposals, which included a ceasefire from Monday and a longer-term peace plan, but its war with Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east still seems far from over.
Both sides’ foreign backers may be unwilling to curtail efforts to expand their regional ambitions. The LNA still controls the east as well as most of Libya’s oil fields in the south.
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feature image courtesy of (Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)