13 Jan 2020 12:05

Representatives of Libyan sides to join Russian-Turkish talks in Moscow - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Jan 13 (Interfax) - Representatives of the Libyan sides have arrived in Moscow and will soon join the Russian-Turkish talks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

"According to the agreements reached between the presidents of Russia and Turkey in Istanbul, a Russian-Turkish meeting dedicated to the Libyan settlement and held at the level of foreign and defense ministers began at the Foreign Ministry's House of Receptions today. Representatives of the Libyan sides have arrived and will join the talks shortly," Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

She published a photo showing the Russian and Turkish delegations seated at a round table. The Russian delegation comprises Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, and Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Middle East and North Africa Department Alexander Kinshchak. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar are representing Turkey.

There are some vacant seats at the table, which seem to be reserved for the delegates from Libya.

The presidents of Russia and Turkey initiated a ceasefire in Libya on January 8.

Libya is currently in a state of diarchy. The Government of National Accord (GNA) is led by Fayez al-Sarraj and headquartered in Tripoli in the west of Libya, while the parliament and the so-called eastern government of Abdallah al-Thani is seated in Tobruk. The eastern government is backed by the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, who launched an offensive on Tripoli in April.

The UN-recognized GNA welcomed the Russian-Turkish initiative, but Haftar rejected the ceasefire offer. On Sunday, The Libyan GNA agreed to cease fire at midnight on January 12, several hours after the warring sides decided to halt the hostilities.

Head of the Libyan High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri said on the Libyan state television channel al-Ahrar that the Libyan GNA and forces of Marshal Haftar are expected to sign a truce agreement in Moscow on Monday.

Al-Sarraj, for his part, urged Libyans in a televised address to the nation on Monday "to turn over the page of the past, to overcome differences, and to close ranks on the road to stability and peace."