Libya's UN-recognised government announces immediate ceasefire

Turkey-backed Government of National Accord called for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in March.

Libya’s UN-recognised government announced a ceasefire across the country on Friday and called for demilitarising the contested strategic city of Sirte.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) also called for an end to an oil blockade imposed by rival forces since earlier this year.

The GNA added parliamentary and presidential elections should be held in March.

GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj “issued instructions to all military forces to immediately cease fire and all combat operations in all Libyan territories”, a statement said. 

Al-Sarraj added the ultimate aim of the truce is to impose “full sovereignty over the Libyan territory and the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries”.

There was no immediate response from eastern forces military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

Halt military intervention

Aguila Saleh, speaker of the pro-Haftar Libyan parliament, called on all parties to adhere to the truce. Saleh said the ceasefire will prevent foreign military intervention in Libya.

The truce will make the strategic city of Sirte a temporary seat for a new presidential council to be guarded by security forces from various regions in the country, said Saleh.

The UN Support Mission in Libya welcomed both statements and called for the expulsion of all foreign forces and mercenaries in Libya.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival east and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

Haftar launched an offensive in April 2019 trying to capture the capital Tripoli.

But his campaign collapsed in June when the Tripoli-allied militias, with Turkish support, gained the upper hand, driving his forces from the outskirts of Tripoli and other western towns.

The GNA was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed after a series of military offensive by forces loyal to Haftar.


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