Politics, Middle East, Africa

Libyan government announces cease-fire

Pro-Haftar speaker of parliament makes similar intitiative for cease-fire

Walid Abdullah   | 21.08.2020
Libyan government announces cease-fire


The Libyan government announced a cease-fire Friday and ordered the military to stop all combat operations.

The Tripoli-seated Government of National Accord said the "cease-fire requires the areas of Sirte and al-Jufra to be demilitarized within security arrangements” and it called for presidential and parliamentary elections in March.

Aguila Saleh, speaker of the pro-Khalifa Haftar Libyan parliament, called on all parties to adhere to an immediate cease-fire.

He said the truce will make Sirte a temporary seat for a new presidential council to be guarded by police from various regions in the country.

The Libyan army welcomed the move and "a return to the political process" calling on Haftar's militia to immediately withdraw from Sirte and al-Jufrah.

Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said the agreement reached with the support and supervision of friendly and brotherly countries is a national achievement that deserves appreciation.

"We hope to develop cooperation with the US, Europe, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and the UN," he said.

Bashagha said Libya can achieve a prosperous future with a national spirit that will bring allies and brothers close together to work together in Libya.

The UN welcomed the cease-fire initiatives and activating the political process.

“The two initiatives have created hope for forging a peaceful political solution to the longstanding Libyan crisis, a solution that will affirm the desire of the Libyan people to live in peace and dignity,” Stephanie Williams, acting head of the UN mission, said in a statement.

She also urged "the rapid implementation of the two leaders' call for the resumption of oil production and export according to the directions outlined in the two statements."

Egypt also welcomed the deal. President Abdelfattah al-Sisi said on Facebook: "I welcome the statements issued by the [the internationally recognized Libyan government's] Presidential Council and the [Tobruk-based] House of Representatives to cease-fire and stop military operations in all Libyan lands."

He stressed that the move is "an important step on the road to achieving a political settlement, and the aspirations of the Libyan people, to restore stability and prosperity in Libya."

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to warlord Haftar.

The UN recognizes the government headed by premier Fayez al-Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar's militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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