A Libyan military commander waging an offensive to capture the capital Tripoli is committed to a ceasefire, Germany’s foreign minister said on Thursday, in an apparent advance for efforts to end a near-decade of turmoil in the north African country.
The minister, Heiko Maas, added that commander Khalifa Haftar is also willing to attend a conference in Berlin on Sunday aimed at addressing the conflict, the foreign ministry said, after Mass visited the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
Haftar’s office was not immediately available for comment.
Maas’s comment follows failed efforts by Russia and Turkey to persuade Haftar on a visit to Moscow this week to agree to a lasting ceasefire and halt the offensive on the Libyan capital. Haftar left Moscow without signing the proposal.
The nine-month-old war over Tripoli is just the latest bout of chaos in Libya, an OPEC oil exporter that has become a hub for human traffickers to ship migrants by boats to Italy, while Islamist militants have exploited the widespread disorder.
Germany on Sunday hosts a summit bringing together foreign powers and the Libyan rival camps backed by them to try end the war over Tripoli and resume talks over a power-sharing deal.
Maas flew to Haftar’s base in eastern Libya on Thursday to discuss the Berlin summit.
“General Haftar has signaled his readiness to contribute to the success of the Libya Conference in Berlin and is willing to participate. He has repeated his commitment to observe the existing ceasefire,” the ministry tweeted Maas as saying after meetings in Benghazi.