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Haftar’s militias should retreat from Sirte, Jufra for GNA to accept a ceasefire, Cavusoglu says

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) will agree to a ceasefire only if warlord Khalifa Haftar withdraws his forces from central and western regions, including Sirte and Jufra, the Turkish foreign minister said.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the (GNA), led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, is “determined” to resume its offensive against Haftar’s forces unless they withdrew from two strategic locations, port city of Sirte and home to an airbase; Jufra.

Cavusoglu pointed out that Russia presented a ceasefire offer during talks in Istanbul last month with a “concrete date and time.”

He said “when Ankara consulted with the GNA, the Libyan officials stated their preconditions on Sirte and Jufra and for Haftar’s forces to return to “lines” they held in 2015.”

Cavusoglu said that Ankara may support the offensive and the GNA’s preconditions for a ceasefire are “legitimate and reasonable.”

Also speaking about an air attack against Al-Watiya airbase last weekend, Cavusoglu told the Financial Times that “there was an investigation to determine who was responsible, but vowed that whoever it was “will pay.”

Turkey had “trainers and technical staff” at the base, which Turkish-backed forces captured from Haftar in May, but none were harmed, he also said.

“We are not for any kind of escalation in the region, or war, but their [Haftar’s backers] engagement is with a putschist, Haftar,” Cavusoglu said.

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