8 – 14 January 2020: Serraj and Haftar agree on ceasefire but agreement fails to be signed by Haftar

Jan 15, 2020 | Libyan actors

On 11 January, the Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj welcomed a Turkish-Russian proposed ceasefire and stated that the GNA would be welcoming any further political initiatives, with the condition that the “aggressor” withdraw to the positions held before 4 April 2019 in order for any ceasefire to be sustained. The Libyan National Army (LNA) also accepted the truce last-minute but warned it would immediately respond to any violations. On 12 January, both the GNA-aligned forces and the LNA forces reduced their military engagement in Tripoli. Following this, Serraj and Haftar both visited Moscow with the aim of them signing the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement.

On 13 January, Serraj and the head of the High Council of State, Khaled al-Mishri, signed the agreement but Haftar and the speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), Aqeela Saleh, requested a postponement until the following morning to allow more time to review its terms. However, in the early hours of 14 January, Haftar and Saleh left Russia without signing the deal.

According to media reports, Haftar declined to sign the ceasefire deal because it did not include a deadline for disbanding the GNA forces nor other demands he had made to Russia such as Turkish forces being withdrawn from Libya and the cancellation of the recent GNA-Turkey security agreement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to Haftar’s departure by warning that if he continues his attacks on Tripoli then “we will not refrain from teaching him the lesson he deserves.” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the Berlin process will be “meaningless” if Haftar continues like this. However, the Russian defence ministry said that Haftar had been positive about the ceasefire deal and is taking two days to discuss it.