Libya: a “permanent cease-fire” signed with immediate effect

A decisive turning point for peace. The two rival parties in Libya on Friday signed a permanent ceasefire agreement with “immediate effect”, after five days of talks in Geneva organized under the auspices of the UN. “Today is a good day for the Libyan people. The two Libyan delegations […] signed a comprehensive, national and permanent ceasefire agreement with immediate effect ”at UN headquarters in Geneva, said Stephanie Williams, acting head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (Manul ).

Plunged into chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya is today torn between two rival powers: the Government of National Unity (GNA), recognized by the UN and based in Tripoli, and the authorities Eastern allies of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, strongman of the East supported by part of the elected Parliament and its president, Aguila Saleh. Both parties have international sponsors. While Marshal Haftar is supported militarily by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, the GNA of Fayez al-Sarraj receives support from Turkey.

All mercenaries and foreign fighters will leave the territory within three months

The two sides agreed that “all military units and armed groups on the front line must return to their camps,” added Stephanie Williams. This will be “accompanied by the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters from all Libyan territory, land, air and sea, within a maximum period of three months from today,” she said.

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Since the announcement of the two Libyan rivals in August of the cessation of hostilities, negotiations between Libya have accelerated in recent weeks with a view to defining the conditions for a lasting ceasefire. From April 2019 to June 2020, Marshal Haftar tried to conquer Tripoli militarily, without success. This fighting left hundreds of people dead and forced tens of thousands of people to flee. For the population, exhausted by the fighting and divisions, this permanent ceasefire is a beacon of hope.

Turkey’s doubts

In the eyes of Libyan analyst Mohamed Eljarh, the signing of this ceasefire agreement is a “fruitful outcome” of the efforts of the UN and the joint military commission meeting in Geneva, with five members representing the GNA and five others Marshal Haftar. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hailed “a fundamental step towards peace and stability in Libya”, calling on “regional actors to respect the provisions of the ceasefire agreement and ensure its application without delay ”, during a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York. “Because the devil is in the details… in the implementation,” said Mohamed Eljarh.

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Turkey, a key player in Libya through its military support for the GNA, questioned on Friday the viability of the ceasefire between the belligerents. “Today’s ceasefire agreement was not reached at the highest level but at a lower level,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul. ” For me, [cet accord] seems to lack credibility, ”he added.

A “first decisive success”

For its part, the European Union welcomed the announcement of the ceasefire as “good news”, “but its implementation is also important, because it will be the key to the resumption of political negotiations”, he added. said Peter Stano, the spokesperson for the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. For Germany, on the front line in the search for a political settlement of the conflict in Libya, it is a “first decisive success”, reacted the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, who sees in this agreement “a good basis for the forthcoming development of a political solution ”.

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Italy, a former colonial power in Libya, called the agreement “a turning point of crucial importance for Libya’s stability”. And in a first Libyan reaction, the head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj hailed the role of Manul in the achievement of this agreement for “a peace based on justice and guarantees which remove the specter of war and troubles in our country ”.

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