TRIPOLI, (The Southern African Times) – Libya’s warring sides signed an agreement for a permanent ceasefire in all areas of the country on Friday, months after frontlines stabilised following a failed eastern assault on the capital Tripoli.
The accord, concluded in Geneva after talks between military representatives of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), will be followed by political discussions in Tunisia next month.
As a first commercial passenger flight in more than a year from Tripoli landed in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, U.N. acting Libya envoy Stephanie Williams hailed both sides for reaching a deal.
“The road was long and difficult at times. Your patriotism was your way forward and you were able to reach a ceasefire agreement,” she said after the signing ceremony.
However, many previous diplomatic efforts to resolve Libya’s internal conflict have run aground on the messy reality of myriad armed groups battling for control of cities and state institutions, backed by rival outside powers.
Williams said in a live broadcast after the signing that she hoped the deal would allow displaced people and refugees to return to their homes.