By Spy Uganda Correspondent
The United Nations said the two sides reached the “historic achievement” with an immediate permanent ceasefire deal across the oil-rich North African country.
After mediation led by UN envoy Stephanie Williams this week, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the UN called an “important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya”.
The accord – concluded in Geneva after talks between military representatives of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and renegade commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) – will be followed up with political discussions in Tunisia next month.
The oil-rich nation has been riven by violence since Col Muammar Gaddafi was deposed by Nato-backed forces in 2011 and since it is a key transit point for migrants heading to Europe from Africa, many Libyans have been forced from their homes.
Agencies quote the UN’s envoy as saying the ceasefire will allow displaced people and refugees inside and outside the country to return to their homes.
Explaining the terms of the deal she said all parties agreed that “all military units and armed groups on the front lines shall return to their camps.”
This will 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.”
It should be remembered that Turkey, Qatar and Italy have been supporting the Tripoli-based government while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt back renegade Gen Khalifa Haftar.
What Is In The Agreement?
This agreement contains a tall order of requests from both sides – key among these are the withdrawal of troops from frontlines to their respective camps, the removal of the various groups of foreign troops and freezing foreign security agreements.
Implementing this in good faith requires a high degree of trust between the rival sides and a significant shift of foreign policy by the countries involved by proxy, which includes Russia, the UAE, Turkey, and Egypt.
For that trust to materialise, everyone involved would need to work swiftly – and seriously – towards unifying Libya’s divided military structures and various militia groups attached to them.
Divisions over the years have resulted in several drawn-out conflicts, even after agreements were reached on paper.
The deal has been met with scepticism by some Libyan observers who see it as an entry point towards potentially tangible, long-lasting peace in the country, rather than a done deal in and of itself.