Libya factions sign ‘permanent’ ceasefire
Geneva: Libya’s two rival factions signed a “permanent” ceasefire agreement Friday after five days of talks at the United Nations, which hailed the move as a moment that will go down in history. “Today is a good day for the Libyan people,” said Stephanie Williams, the UN’s envoy to the troubled North African country, where a UN-recognised government in Tripoli has been battling a rival administration based in the east and dominated by military strongman Khalifa Haftar. “At 11:15 am (0915 GMT) this morning here at the UN headquarters in Geneva, the two Libyan delegations… signed a complete, countrywide and permanent ceasefire agreement with immediate effect,” she said. Williams said the parties agreed that “all military units and armed groups on the front lines shall return to their camps”. This would 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.” Libya has been wracked by conflict for nearly a decade, since the overthrow and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising. Since then, it has been dominated by armed groups, riven by local conflicts and divided between the two bitterly opposed administrations. But hopes for a solution have risen after the two warring factions in August separately announced they would cease hostilities. However, both sides continue to accuse each other of supporting “terrorist” groups. Libya’s former colonial power Italy hailed the agreement, as did the European Union. “The agreement of a permanent ceasefire is key for the resumption of a political dialogue,” EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Sano, adding, “It’s very important, as well, to see this accord put into effect.” Erdogan questions ceasefire viability But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which backs the GNA with military support, questioned the viability of the ceasefire. “Today’s ceasefire agreement was actually not made at the highest level, it was at a lower level. Time will tell whether it will last,” Erdogan said. “So it seems to me that it lacks credibility.” – AFP