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Libya Cease-Fire Raises Hopes for Full Peace Deal

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The two main factions in years of civil war that have drawn in Russia, Turkey and other regional powers signed an accord at the United Nations in Geneva.

Libya’s two main warring factions agreed to a cease-fire on Friday, raising hopes for an end to years of bloody turmoil that have drawn in military forces from Russia, Turkey and other regional powers.

The two sides signed the agreement at the United Nations in Geneva at the end of a weeklong meeting of delegates from the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, which is based in the capital Tripoli, and the self-styled Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Hifter and based in the country’s east.

The two sides agreed to a complete, countrywide and permanent agreement with immediate effect, said Stephanie Williams, the United Nations acting special envoy who was chairwoman of the most recent talks. She said it called for frontline forces to return to their bases and for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries within three months, a process that would be monitored by the United Nations.

“God willing, it will be the key to peace and security in all Libya,” Col. Ali Abushama, the head of the government delegation, said at the signing ceremony. “We have had enough suffering, enough division, enough bloodshed.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the permanent truce agreement between the two main warring factions in Libya on Friday and said it was a “fundamental step” toward ending the conflict.

I welcome the signing of a cease-fire agreement by the Libyan parties in Geneva today, under the auspices of the United Nations. This is a fundamental step towards peace and stability in Libya. I congratulate the parties for putting the interests of their nation ahead of their differences. I appeal to all stakeholders and regional actors to respect the provisions of the cease-fire agreement, and ensure its implementation without delay.

And I call on the international community to support Libyans in implementing the cease-fire and then bring an end to the conflict. There is no military solution for the conflict in Libya. The cease-fire agreement is a critical step, but there is much hard work ahead. The United Nations will continue to support the Libyan parties in the search for lasting peace in their country.

But I also want to stress in the context of my repeated calls for a global cease-fire so that we can focus all our energies on the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the inspiration of the Libyan agreement, now is the time to mobilize all efforts to support the mediation taking place to end the conflicts in Yemen, Afghanistan and in Armenia and Azerbaijan, where active hostilities are causing immense suffering for civilians.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the permanent truce agreement between the two main warring factions in Libya on Friday and said it was a “fundamental step” toward ending the conflict.

Libya has a long history of failed peace initiatives and the reaction of the foreign sponsors that have driven the long-running war, on both sides of the conflict, will be crucial to the success of the cease-fire. Ms. Williams said the agreement will be sent immediately to the U.N. Security Council, stressing the critical importance of international backing.

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