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Russia Said Set to Host Peace Talks between Libyan Rivals

Foreign Ministry officials in Moscow have been reported as saying that Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and the country’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) will start peace talks in the Russian capital on Monday. The talks, according to media reports, will be held under the auspices of both Russia and Turkey, which were instrumental in bringing about a cease-fire between the sides over the weekend. The Benghazi-based LNA, led by renegade general Khalifa Haftar, has been seeking to wrest territory from the UN- and Turkey-backed GNA, based in Tripoli and led by Fayez al-Serraj, who serves as prime minister and leader of the country’s executive. Libya has been rent by discord since 2014 when Haftar, a senior military figure who aided dictator Muamar Gaddafi in assuming power in 1969 and then in 2011 played a role in Gaddafi’s overthrow, disagreed with a power-sharing accord and withdrew to the east with entire military units, including warplanes. Since April, the LNA has been on an offensive, taking over oil fields and key cities, and laying siege to parts of Tripoli.