Warring sides in Libya sign ‘historic’ permanent ceasefire deal, United Nations says

  • Warring sides in Libya sign ‘historic’ permanent ceasefire deal, United Nations says

Warring sides in Libya sign ‘historic’ permanent ceasefire deal, United Nations says

The two warring sides in Libya's long-running civil conflict have signed an agreement to put in place "a permanent cease-fire in all areas of Libya", the United Nations said in a Facebook post on Friday.

Libya has been in the grips of a conflict since 2014 pitting an UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, against rival authorities based in the east of the country.

"The road was long and hard at times".

"What you have accomplished here is a crucial sign for Libya and the Libyan people", Williams said Friday.

Williams said the parties agreed that "all military units and armed groups on the front lines shall return to their camps", while "all mercenaries and foreign fighters" must leave within three months.

Foreign mercenaries will depart "from all Libyan territories land, air and sea" within three months, she added, referring to the thousands of Syrian fighters deployed by Turkey and Russian Federation on opposite sides of the war.

"Nobody can love Libya as much as you do", said Williams, who heads the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

Shortly after the announcement of the deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it did not appear to be credible - even as he expressed hope that all parties would stick to it. "Time will tell whether it will last", Erdogan said.

Haftar - supported by Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt - launched an offensive on Tripoli in April 2019 but was pushed back early this year as pro-GNA forces received crucial support from Turkey.

However, both sides continue to accuse each other of supporting "terrorist" groups.

"I appeal to all Libya: Be one hand", he added, warning of polarization by factions.

"The ceasefire agreement finally promises a change of course from military to political logic", German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement to AFP. Next month, the sides will go to Tunisia for political talks, with the goal of eventually holding elections.

GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj also welcomed the deal, saying it could help pave the way for political and economic accords. But his campaign collapsed in June.

Global pressure has also been building on the parties to avert a battle over the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway to Libya's major oil export terminals.

This breakthrough also accompanied the resumption of oil production after a months-long blockade by powerful tribes allied with Haftar.

Since then, it has been dominated by armed groups, riven by local conflicts and divided between the two bitterly-opposed adminstrations.

Libya's prized light crude has always been a key factor in the civil war, with rival militias and foreign powers jostling for control of Africa's largest oil reserves.

"I am hopeful that future generations of Libyans will consider today's agreement as a first, critical, courageous step to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Libyan crisis, that has gone on for too long".

The parties also agreed to establish a mechanism to monitor, jointly with the United Nations mission in Libya, the implementation of the deal.

Mohamed Eljarh, a Libya expert and co-founder of Libya Outlook for Research and Consulting, also cautiously welcomed the deal.