Representatives of the Government and Parliament of Libya, sides faced for six years in civil war, signed this Friday a permanent ceasefire for the entire national territory that implies, among other points, the departure of all foreign forces the country within three months.
The agreement, reached with the mediation of the United Nations Mission of Support for Libya (UNSMIL), was signed after four rounds of talks at the UN European headquarters in Geneva by the 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission, made up of 10 representatives of the two armies in conflict.
The acting head of UNSMIL, Stephanie Williams, explained in a subsequent press conference that the agreement has immediate effect and it implies that “all deployed military units and armed groups must return to their barracks.”
This must be accompanied by “the departure from Libyan territory of all mercenaries and foreign troops that operate on land, sea and air, “added Williams, who clarified that the ceasefire will not apply to groups included in the United Nations list of terrorist organizations.
Joint Police & Army
The agreement includes the creation of joint police and army operations centers to guarantee the security of the territory, as well as the possible reintegration, under certain conditions, of members of armed groups into “state institutions.”
After signing the agreement, Colonel Ali Abushahma, head of the delegation representing the Government of National Action (GAN), expressed his hope that the ceasefire “will end the armed conflict and bloodshed in Libya.”
Abushahma, a representative of the Government based in Tripoli recognized by the UN, asked those responsible for the Libyan troops “to do everything possible to fulfill the agreement with responsibility and to reconstitute the military apparatus so that it is a strong hand against those who undermine security and stability of Libya “.
By the rival Parliament of Tobruk, the head of delegation Amhimmid Mohammed Alamami He stressed that the 5 + 5 commission “has been successful and has managed to achieve what all Libyans have been waiting for: to show belonging to a nation and to extend peace and security.”
The Security Council, guarantor
The two parties requested that after the achievement of the new agreement the Security Council adopt a resolution that guarantees its compliance, and not only by the actors inside Libya but also those outside.
Williams stressed that the agreement is a response to the request this year for a ceasefire in all global conflicts launched in March by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in view of the health crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
The 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission already agreed last Wednesday, October 21, on the reopening of land and air routes in Libya, something on which a principle of agreement had been reached last month during negotiations held in the Egyptian city of Hurghada. This agreement has already resulted in this week the reopening of flights between Tripoli and Benghazi, the two main cities of the country (the first controlled by the state faction and the second by the parliamentary one).
Williams added that the two negotiating teams have notified him this week that the production of Petroleum in the country, which was blocked for months by attacks by opposition forces on the Tripoli government, it will be able to resume completely soon.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” the UNSMIL official concluded, however, who said that in future rounds more details will be negotiated to facilitate the demobilization of troops, the reintegration of their members and the fight against terrorism.
The European Union entered into the agreement, which he described as “important” step to achieve a political solution to the crisis, and called for a rapid implementation of the ceasefire. “It is good news that we welcome with enthusiasm,” said the spokesman for the Commission for Foreign Relations, Peter Stano, before admitting that the implementation of the pact “will be more difficult than negotiations.”
Turkey, one of the countries that supports the GAN, was much more reticent. According to its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the ceasefire “does not seem reliable.” “An agreement has not been reached at the highest level. People of lower level attended, someone appointed by (Marshal Khalifa) Hafter and a commander of (former GAN leader Fayez al) Sarraj,” he added in statements to Turkish media. .
A raging war
The Libyan civil war confronts the Government with a Parliament that, based in Tobruk, controls a large part of the national territory through the militias headed by Hafter, a strongman from Muammar Gaddafi in the 70s and 80s, but after fleeing to the US in 1989 he was the main opposition leader in exile.
In reality, since the fall of the dictator in 2011, when NATO contributed to the victory of the heterogeneous rebel groups and militias that disputed the power of Al Gaddafi, the country is a failed state, a victim of chaos and civil war.
The conflict has been highly internationalized in its current phase, with Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and France involved in supporting the various factions at stake, sometimes with direct military aid.