Haftar ‘agrees to abide by’ ceasefire, ready to join Libya talks: Germany Jan 17, 2020 0 1646 12345 AFPBerlinLibyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has agreed to abide by a ceasefire and said he was ready to participate in an international conference in Berlin on Sunday, Germany’s foreign minister said.Libya’s UN-recognised government in Tripoli has been under attack since April from Haftar’s forces, with clashes killing more than 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters and displacing tens of thousands.The leaders of the North African state’s warring factions were in Moscow early this week at talks aimed at finalising a ceasefire orchestrated by Russia and Turkey.“During my visit to Libya today, General Haftar made clear: He wants to contribute to the success of the Libyan conference in Berlin and is in principle ready to participate in it. He has agreed to abide by the ongoing ceasefire,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted after talks in Benghazi.After the Moscow talks, Haftar had walked away without signing the permanent truce, sparking fears about the shaky ceasefire.Maas had travelled to meet Haftar in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi -- one of the general’s strongholds -- in a bid to persuade him to join in the peace initiative.The trip came days after Maas spoke with Haftar’s rival Fayez al-Sarraj, who serves as head of the UN-recognised government in Tripoli.Separately in Tripoli, Sarraj announced he would attend the Berlin talks held under the auspices of the UN.The battle over Tripoli is the latest unrest to wrack Libya since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Since then, Libya has been caught up in fighting between rival armed factions, including Islamist militants.In his report to the UN Security Council late on Wednesday, UN chief Antonio Guterres urged all warring parties to stop fighting and “engage constructively towards that end, including within the Berlin process”.He also warned against “external interference”, which he said would “deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a clear international commitment to a peaceful resolution of the underlying crisis”.The Berlin conference will aim to agree six points including a permanent ceasefire, implementation of the arms embargo and a return to the political process for peace, Guterres said.The fighting in Libya has also spurred a growing exodus of migrants, though nearly 1,000 intercepted at sea have been forced to return this year, according to the UN. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Dozens killed as Damascus presses Idlib offensive Jan 17, 2020 0 95 Four Nigerian troops killed in militant attack Jan 17, 2020 0 1662 Iran accuses EU of abandoning nuclear deal for fear of ‘bully’ Trump Jan 17, 2020 0 85 Iran says ‘daily enrichment’ of uranium higher than 2015 Tehran: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that his country’s “daily enrichment” of uranium was currently “higher” than before the conclusion of the 2015 nuclear deal. Rouhani, who instigated the .. Lebanon detains 100 after protests turn violent Beirut: Lebanon’s security forces were holding at least 100 anti-government protesters on Thursday, lawyers told AFP, after two nights of demonstrations that turned violent in Beirut. With little change in sight, .. US resumes joint military operations in Iraq: NYT AFP Washington The US on Wednesday resumed joint military operations with Iraq that had been put on pause after the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, the New York Times reported. Two US military .. Iraq’s top cleric undergoes successful surgery on broken thigh Baghdad: Iraq’s most influential cleric, Ali al-Sistani, on Thursday underwent successful surgery on a broken thigh bone, an Iraqi medical source said. Al-Sistani, who is 89 and rarely seen in public, wields clout .. Netanyahu hopeful for US-Israeli’s release after Putin call Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he was optimistic an Israeli-American woman jailed in Russia would be released, after a phone call with President Vladimir Putin. The case of Naama .. EU’s Michel, Putin ‘hopeful’ that Berlin talks bring Libya ceasefire Brussels: European Council President Charles Michel and Russian President Vladimir Putin are both hopeful that Sunday’s Libya conference in Berlin will deliver a ceasefire, says a statement from Michel’s office .. 5 million Syrian children displaced, says United Nations Geneva/Beirut: Warring parties in Syria have been targeting children for years, creating millions of underage victims who have been forced to flee and forfeit access to a proper education, UN rights investigators .. World ‘will not rest’ until answers on downed Iran jet: Canada London: Canada’s foreign minister on Thursday vowed to push Iran for answers about the mistaken downing of a passenger plane amid high tensions after the US killed one of Tehran’s top commanders. “In the wake of such a ..