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Turkey Chooses Optimism Regarding Libyan Cease-fire

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar believes it premature to say that a truce between warring forces in Libya has broken down with the failure of one of the sides to agree to a cease-fire discussed on Monday in Moscow. Fayez al-Serraj, prime minister of Libya’s UN-supported Government of National Accord (GNA), signed the agreement, but Khalifa Haftar, a renegade general whose self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has been waging an offensive since last spring, left the talks without signing. When asked whether the cease-fire was now over, Akar told reporters in Ankara on Wednesday that “it’s much too early for such an interpretation.” Russia has been providing support to Haftar’s forces, while Turkey is sending troops to serve in an advisory and training capacity for the GNA. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Tuesday that Ankara would “teach a lesson” to Haftar should his forces resume their attacks. On Tuesday, the GNA accused the LNA of firing rockets near the capital Tripoli.