TRIPOLI 

The Libyan government on Friday announced a cease-fire and ordered the military to stop all combat operations.

The Tripoli-seated Government of National Accord said that the “cease-fire requires the areas of Sirte and al-Jufra to be demilitarized within security arrangements.”

It called for presidential and parliamentary elections in March.

For his part, Aguila Saleh, speaker of pro-Khalifa Haftar Libyan parliament, called on all parties for an immediate cease-fire.

He said the truce will make Sirte a temporary seat for a new presidential council to be guarded by police forces from various regions in the country.

The Libyan army, for its part, welcomed the move and “a return to the political process” calling on Haftar’s militia to immediately withdraw from Sirte and al-Jufrah.

The UN welcomed both cease-fire initiatives and activating the political process.

“The two initiatives have created hope for forging a peaceful political solution to the longstanding Libyan crisis, a solution that will affirm the desire of the Libyan people to live in peace and dignity,” Stephanie Williams, acting head of the UN mission, said in a statement.

She also urged “the rapid implementation of the two leaders’ call for the resumption of oil production and export according to the directions outlined in the two statements.”

Egypt also welcomed the cease-fire deal. President Abdelfattah al-Sisi said on Facebook: “I welcome the statements issued by the [the internationally recognized Libyan government’s] Presidential Council and the [Tobruk-based] House of Representatives to cease-fire and stop military operations in all Libyan lands.”

He stressed that the move is “an important step on the road to achieving a political settlement, and the aspirations of the Libyan people, to restore stability and prosperity in Libya.”

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The UN recognizes the government headed by premier Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

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