CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced a new initiative for Libya on Saturday, flanked by the war-torn nation’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, proposing an elected leadership council and a cease-fire starting on June 8.
"This initiative calls for respecting all international efforts and initiatives by declaring a ceasefire from 0600 (0400 GMT) Monday June 8, 2020," President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told a news conference.
El-Sisi, who was also accompanied in Cairo by eastern Libyan parliament head Aguila Saleh, said the plan included a call for negotiations in Geneva and for the exit of all "foreign mercenaries from” Libya.
He urged international support for the initiative, named the "Cairo declaration", and called on the United Nations to invite Libya's rival administrations in the east and the west for talks.
Libya has had no stable central authority since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown by NATO-backed rebels in 2011. For more than five years it has had rival parliaments and governments in the east and the west, with streets often controlled by armed groups.
El-Sisi’s announcement comes after the abrupt collapse of a 14-month offensive by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to try to take control of the capital, Tripoli.
The retreat, reversing many of Haftar’s gains from last year when he raced toward Tripoli, extends the control of the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) across most of northwest Libya. Haftar and allied groups still control the east and much of the south, as well as most of Libya’s oilfields, however.
Multiple previous attempts to establish truces and a return to negotiations have foundered, though the United Nations has started holding separate talks with both sides for a cease-fire deal in recent days.