The two warring sides in Libya have signed an agreement for “a permanent ceasefire in all areas of Libya”, the United Nations Libya mission said in a Facebook post, showing live video of the ceremony to sign the agreement.
After mediation this week led by UN envoy for Libya, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the UN called a “historic achievement” and an “important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya”.
Libya has been racked by violence since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 overthrew and killed veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The North African country has been dominated by armed groups, driven by local conflicts, and divided between two bitterly opposed administrations: the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, and a rival administration in the east affiliated with renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.
Here is how global bodies and leaders reacted to the ceasefire announcement:
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the ceasefire. “This is a fundamental step toward peace and stability in Libya,” Guterres said.
“I welcome the signing of a ceasefire agreement by the Libyan parties in Geneva today under the auspices of the United Nations,” he added.
Stephanie Turco Williams, the UN’s envoy to the troubled petroleum-rich country, said it was “a moment that will go down in history”.
“You have met for the sake of Libya, for your people in order to take concrete steps to put an end to their suffering,” she said at the signing ceremony.
“Nobody can love Libya as much as you do,” said Williams, who heads the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
The European Commission welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in Libya and called for it to go into immediate effect and for peace talks to resume.
“The agreement of a permanent ceasefire is key for the resumption of a political dialogue,” EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Sano told reporters.
“It’s very important, as well, to see this accord put into effect.”
The US hailed the ceasefire signed while also urged “internal and external actors to support the implementation of the agreement.”
“This agreement is a major step forward toward realising the shared interests of all Libyans in de-escalation, stability and the departure of foreign fighters,” said a statement issued by the US embassy in Libya.
“We urge internal and external actors now to support the good-faith implementation of the agreement.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan questioned the viability of a permanent ceasefire signed between Libya’s two rival factions, one of which is supported by Ankara.
“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, who backs the GNA, told reporters in Istanbul.
“So it seems to me that it lacks credibility,” he said.
Germany welcomed the ceasefire hailing the accord as a “ray of hope”.
“The ceasefire agreement finally promises a change of course from military to political logic,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. “This news is the first ray of hope for the people of Libya in a long time.”
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs called “on all parties to faithfully implement the agreement.”
#Greece welcomes tdy’s announcement of a permanent ceasefire in Libya that will hopefully lead to a political solution of the crisis. We call on all parties to faithfully implement the agreement to ensure peace &stability for the benefit of the people of Libya& the broader region
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) October 23, 2020
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry also welcomed the signing of the agreement.
“We express the Kingdom’s aspiration that the agreement will pave the way for the success of the political and economic negotiations,” the ministry said in a statement.
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) October 23, 2020
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this was an “important step,” while it expressed its full “support … to create common ground between the parties.”
An important step that parties in #Libya has agreed on a ceasefire. This may pave the way for peace & stability. #Norway fully supports the efforts of @UNSMIL to create common ground btw the parties in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2510
– Ine #EriksenSoreide
— Norway MFA (@NorwayMFA) October 23, 2020
The UAE on Saturday welcomed the agreement, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
It added that a political solution under UN supervision was the only way to end the conflict in Libya.