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Int’l, Regional Negotiations Set to Resolve Battle for Sirte

Int’l, Regional Negotiations Set to Resolve Battle for Sirte

Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 - 05:15
LNA special forces gather in Benghazi, on their way to reportedly back up fellow LNA fighters on the frontline west of Sirte, on June 18, 2020. (AFP)

International and regional negotiations will soon be kicked off to ease the standoff over the strategic Libyan city of Sirte and prevent the eruption of a new round of violence between the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, and Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Informed Libyan sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that speaker of the east-based parliament, Aguila Saleh, will hold a series of meetings with international delegations soon.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources did not divulge details about the time and place of these talks.

The speaker had recently embarked on an Arab tour that had included Morocco and Jordan.

Tensions between the LNA and GNA have eased over Sirte, but officials from both sides of the divide have continued to warn that the battle would be upon them if negotiations fail to reach an acceptable solution.

Informed sources have revealed that American administration officials had urged Haftar and Sarraj against military escalation, calling on them to maintain the current frontlines, which have been drawn by an unofficial ceasefire between the rivals.

Separately, LNA officials denied claims by the GNA forces that five Russian jets, loaded with ammunition and transporting mercenaries, had landed in Libya to back the military in Sirte and al-Jufra. They also refuted claims that Russian aircraft, flying mercenaries from Syria, had landed in the eastern city of Benghazi.

An LNA official said that what is true is that Turkey is still sending military reinforcements to the GNA in Misrata and Sirte, in addition to mercenaries and military gear.

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