International

‘Historic’ Libya cease-fire agreed, UN says

The UN says both sides in the Libyan civil conflict have reached a permanent cease-fire agreement. The world body called the deal a “historic achievement.”

The two warring sides in Libya’s long-running civil conflict have signed an agreement to put in place “a permanent cease-fire in all areas of Libya,” the United Nations said in a Facebook post on Friday.

The accord signed on Friday is to be followed by political discussions in Tunisia next month.

Libya has been in the grips of a conflict since 2014 pitting an UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, against rival authorities based in the East of the country. The conflict has drawn in a number of local militias in addition to regional and foreign powers.

‘Important turning point’

Like many previous diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, Friday’s deal may well be foiled in the long run by the complex nature of Libya’s political and sectarian landscape. 

The UN said, however, that the agreement was an “important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya.” 

“The road to a permanent cease-fire deal was often long and difficult,” said UN envoy for Libya Stephanie Turco Williams, who mediated in talks between the two sides.

She voiced the hope that the deal would succeed “in ending the suffering of Libyans and allowing those displaced by the conflict to return to their homes.”

On Wednesday, Williams said there had been agreements to open air and land routes in the country and to take measures to get Libya’s vital oil industry up and running once more.

The North African country has been in a state of political and social chaos since its longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was ousted and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.