By Janet Ekatract
İSTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – A moment that looked like it would never happen in Libya is now taking place.
Renegade warlord Khalifa Haftar along with his Libya National Army (LNA) agreed to a ceasefire according to Haftar’s spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari who communicated the news in a video message on Saturday
The ceasefire took effect at midnight local time in Libya immediately after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation on Saturday.
Erdogan received Putin in Istanbul on Wednesday for talks calling for a ceasefire on January 12.
Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte who met with Haftar earlier this week in Rome, lauded the ceasefire as a “first step” toward a political solution but warned there is still a long road ahead.
Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, chairman of the Presidential Council of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) is expected to meet with Erdogan in Turkey on Sunday.
On Saturday, EU Council President Charles Michel met Erdogan for a two-hour closed-door session at Dolmabahce Palace to discuss Libya and the Middle East situation.
After the meeting, The EU Council issued a statement that read: “The presidents had a discussion on how the EU and Turkey can work together to de-escalate the situation in the Middle East and in Libya.” The statement added: “Michel said he welcomed the “constructive language” of Erdogan’s joint statement with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a ceasefire and support for the Berlin Process.
Reports from Tripoli indicate there’s a celebratory mood in Libya’s capital since news of the ceasefire arrived.
Ever since Haftar’s military offensive, the GNA was forced to close all airports except for one outside the city. Now, Libya’s Transportation Ministry of the GNA announced it will reopen Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport.