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Progress made in Libya talks, but Haftar delays signing ceasefire deal

Head of Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj signs truce but eastern commander asks for more time
Libya's eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, right, shakes hands with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow (AFP)

Talks aimed at agreeing an unconditional and open-ended ceasefire in Libya failed to achieve a breakthrough on Monday despite making good progress, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

Lavrov said Fayez al-Sarraj, who heads Libya's Tripoli-based internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), had signed the ceasefire agreement but that Khalifa Haftar, commander of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) faction, had asked for more time to consider the matter.

Libya's rival leaders, Khalifa Haftar and Fayez al-Sarraj, attend peace talks in Moscow
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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Haftar had asked for a deadline of Tuesday morning to consider the deal.

"We have designed a draft deal that has different modalities for the ceasefire. Haftar asked for time until tomorrow to deliberate on the draft," Cavusoglu said. 

"Sarraj already signed the deal following the changes asked by the both sides."

Haftar had now left Moscow, the TASS news agency cited the Russian foreign ministry as saying on Tuesday.

Sarraj and Haftar did not meet officially during the indirect peace talks, the Interfax news agency cited a member of the Russian delegation, which mediated the talks together with Turkey, as saying.

The talks in Moscow come after a ceasefire in Libya, initiated by Turkey and Russia, saw a lull in heavy fighting and air strikes on Sunday, though both factions accused each other of violating the truce as skirmishes continued around the capital Tripoli.

Draft of ceasefire deal

According to a draft of the ceasefire deal shared by a GNA spokesperson with Middle East Eye, both sides will create a joint military commission to ensure the stability of the truce. 

The draft joint statement says a 5+5 military commission would determine the line of battle between the parties, monitor the implementation of the ceasefire and ensure the sustainability of it. 

Each side will also assign a representative to join UN-led economic and political dialogue and form a working group on the intra-Libyan political settlement. 

The Moscow talks are taking place ahead of a summit in Berlin, which will also bring together the foreign backers of both Libyan camps.

Turkey backs Sarraj, while Russian military contractors have been deployed alongside Haftar's LNA forces.

Asked about those mercenaries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that any Russian citizens fighting in Libya were not representing the interests of their state or receiving money from it.

Libya, which has been mired in turmoil since the toppling of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi, has had two rival governments since 2014. 

The conflict between the forces of the two factions has wrecked the country's economy, fuelled migrant smuggling and militancy, and disrupted oil supplies.

Libya control map  -Who controls what