Rival authorities in Libya separately announced on Friday (August 21) the organization of elections soon and the cessation of all fighting in the territory, a “Agreement” welcomed by the United Nations (UN).
Faïez Sarraj, head of the presidential council of the Government of National Accord (GAN), established in Tripoli and recognized by the UN, called on Friday (August 21) for the holding of“Presidential and parliamentary elections next March on a constitutional basis which enjoys the consensus of all Libyans”, according to a statement posted on Facebook.
For his part, Aguila Salah Issa, Speaker of the Parliament, located in the east of the country, announced in a separate press release the elections, without giving a date, and asked ” all parties “ to observe “An immediate ceasefire and an end to all fighting throughout Libya.”
Immediately after the press releases were released, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, whose country has considered deploying troops to neighboring Libya, welcomed the announcement by rival authorities.
“An immediate cease-fire”
Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya has been plagued by multiple conflicts and a struggle for influence between two rival authorities: the GAN and a power embodied by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strong man from the east. which has the support of part of the elected Parliament and in particular of its president, Mr. Salah Issa.
The Ankara-backed GNA succeeded in repelling an offensive by Marshal Haftar launched in April 2019 against Tripoli, regaining control of the entire northwest of the country in June.
After more than a year of deadly fighting, Mr. Sarraj “Ordered all armed forces an immediate ceasefire and the cessation of all combat operations throughout Libyan territory”, which will allow, according to him, to create demilitarized zones in Sirte (north) and in the region of Djoufra, further south, currently under the control of supporters of Marshal Haftar.
In the statement by Mr. Salah Issa, released on Friday by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (Manul), the latter does not, however, mention the demilitarization of Sirte and Djoufra but proposes the installation of a new government in Sirte, hometown of ex-dictator Muammar Gaddafi, then a stronghold of the Islamic State (IS) group.
For its part, the Manul welcomed “Warmly the understanding in today’s Prime Minister’s statements [Faïez] Sarraj and President Aguila [Salah Issa], calling for a ceasefire and the resumption of the political process ”.
“A positive step” according to France
France called it“Positive step” the announcement by rival authorities in Libya of a cease-fire and the forthcoming organization of elections, while stressing that these promises “Must materialize on the ground”.
“The statements by the President of the Presidential Council and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, including calling for an immediate ceasefire, the end of military operations in Libya and the resumption of oil production are a positive step”, But “They must materialize on the ground”, wrote in a press release the deputy director of the press of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“France calls on all the parties to effectively implement the cessation of hostilities and to commit themselves in good faith to concluding a lasting ceasefire agreement, making it possible, through reciprocal, credible and verifiable steps to achieve a resumption of the political process and an end to all foreign interference in Libya ”, he emphasizes. Paris also calls on rival parties to “Continue their efforts to allow the resumption as soon as possible of oil production and the transparent allocation of its revenues”.
“There is no military solution in Libya”, continues the Quai d´Orsay, recalling that “France calls for a return to the political process, under the aegis of the United Nations and on the basis of the parameters agreed by the Libyans, with the aim of paving the way for elections”.