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Turkey Says LNA Withdrawal From Sirte and Al Jufra Necessary For Ceasefire Deal

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On Wednesday, Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin stated that the withdrawal of the Libyan National Army (LNA) from Sirte and Al Jufra airbase was a ‘must’ in order to reach a sustainable ceasefire in Libya.

In a statement to Reuters, Kalin said that Ankara had agreed with Russia to keep pushing for a ceasefire in Libya.

He stressed that any deal must be based on a return to what he said were the front lines of 2015. This would require LNA forces to pull back from the city of Sirte — the gateway to Libya’s eastern oilfields — and Al-Jufra, a strategic air base near the centre of the country.

“For the ceasefire to be sustainable, Al-Jufra and Sirte should be evacuated by LNA forces” Kalin noted.

Egypt, which backs the LNA, has threatened to intervene militarily should Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkish-backed forces attempt to seize Sirte.

The Egyptian Parliament on Sunday gave the green light for a possible military intervention.

Kalin added that any Egyptian deployment in Libya would hamper efforts to end the fighting and would be risky for Cairo.

Wednesday’s joint agreement by Turkey and Russia on ceasefire efforts included a call for measures to allow humanitarian access to those in need and efforts to promote political dialogue between the two sides.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it backs a ceasefire and political talks that would culminate in a united governing authority. Russia has received senior delegations from both sides to Moscow, but has failed to achieve a ceasefire agreement.

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