Libya’s eastern strongman General Khalifa Haftar has left Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement to end nine months of fighting in the country, the Russian foreign ministry confirmed to AFP Tuesday.
Haftar on Monday evening asked for until Tuesday morning to look over the agreement already signed by the head of UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj, but left the Russian capital without signing, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Mediated by Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers, the talks did not include the warring sides meeting face to face, but Moscow said there was “progress” and that Haftar viewed the ceasefire document “positively”.
But after seven hours of negotiations, only Sarraj had signed on to the agreement and Russian officials confirmed to AFP that Haftar’s delegation had left without signing the deal.
“We will pursue our efforts in this direction. For now, a definitive result has not been achieved,” the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said at a press conference in Sri Lanka.
Russia, European powers and Libya’s neighbors “are working in the same vein and motivating all Libyan sides to agree rather than continue sorting things out by force”, Lavrov said.
Russian state media citing Libyan sources later said however that his plane departed Russia after a failure to reach a permanent agreement, leaving the fragile truce in uncertainty.
Western powers are keen to stabilize Libya – home to Africa’s largest proven crude reserves – following years of turbulence since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.