Libyan Strongman Haftar Agrees to Cease-fire, will Attend Peace Summit
Libyan National Army chief Khalifa Haftar has agreed to a cease-fire and is slated to attend an international peace conference in Germany on Sunday. Haftar’s eastern-based force last April launched a campaign to retake Tripoli, the seat of the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord. The clashes in and around the Libyan capital have killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands, according to rights groups. Haftar is supported primarily by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and, to a lesser degree, Russia, whereas the government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj is sponsored by most of the West and Turkey. The tentative truce, which Haftar reportedly did not formally sign, was brokered by Moscow and Ankara, which recently began deploying troops to the war-torn country. In a report submitted to the Security Council this week, UN boss Antonio Guterres warned that “external interference” in Libya risked “deepen[ing] the ongoing conflict and [was] further complicat[ing] efforts to reach a clear international commitment to a peaceful resolution of the underlying crisis.” Libya has been engulfed in chaos since the 2011 NATO-led ouster of former dictator Moammar Qaddafi.