- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced a new initiative for Libya on Saturday, calling for the formation of an elected leadership council and a ceasefire from Monday.
- Russia and the UAE announced their support for the proposal.
- Meanwhile, GNA forces announced in return the launch of a military operation to regain control of the city of Sirte.
Russia and the United Arab Emirates praised the “Cairo Declaration” on Libya, which was approved by retired general Khalifa Haftar. The leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA) backed a cease fire to take effect from Monday. However, the Turkish-backed, UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) rejected it.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the new Egyptian peace initiative should be the main forum for deciding the country’s future. Moscow has described the Egyptian proposals as comprehensive, which could serve as a basis for long-awaited negotiations between the two warring parties in Libya.
Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt support the forces of Eastern Libya (the Libyan National Army), led by Haftar, who has suffered a series of sudden setbacks over the past week.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced a new initiative for Libya on Saturday, calling for the formation of an elected leadership council and a ceasefire from Monday. Sisi met with Haftar and Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the Libyan parliament.
The initiative, known as the Cairo Declaration, calls for “respect for all efforts and initiatives through a ceasefire from 6 am on June 8, 2020, and for foreign actors to be expelled from all Libyan lands.”
For its part, the United Arab Emirates supported the Egyptian initiative. The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, announced his support for the plan on Twitter:
“With the support of the United States National Security Council for the Egyptian initiative, Arab and international momentum for an immediate ceasefire, a withdrawal of foreign forces and a return to the political track is strengthened.”
“The hands of time cannot be returned to a century except through open military intervention and ignoring the international will in support of a political solution.”
Meanwhile, GNA forces announced in return the launch of a military operation to regain control of the city of Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli. In a series of swift victories, the GNA, with Turkish support, suddenly regained control of the greater part of northwestern Libya, and the Haftar attempt to advance towards the capital, Tripoli, was aborted.
In his first speech after the announcement of the Cairo Declaration early this week, the Head of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, urged his troops to “continue their path” towards Sirte. A statement also said his forces would continue to expel what they described as criminal gangs and mercenaries who came to Libya from all sides.
For his part, the GNA’s Minister of the Interior, Fathi Bashagha, said that the internationally-recognized government will not be open to entering into political talks with Haftar until after the restoration of the city of Sirte and the base of Al-Jafra.
He stressed in an interview with Bloomberg news agency that the military operations carried out by the GNA will continue until the two areas are restored, and “prevent Russia from establishing a base in the country.”
And Saturday, head of the Supreme Council of the State, Khaled al-Mishri, announced the rejection of any initiative that is not based on the Libyan political agreement, stressing that there is “no need for any new initiative,” and that “Haftar has no place in any upcoming negotiations.”
He indicated their refusal to interfere in everything that matters to the Libyans.