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Libyan Sides Declare Ceasefire, Demilitarised Zones, Call on Int'l Forces to Withdraw

© REUTERS / ESAM OMRAN AL-FETORIA member of the Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar sits in a tent at one of their sites in west of Sirte, Libya August 19, 2020
A member of the Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar sits in a tent at one of their sites in west of Sirte, Libya August 19, 2020 - Sputnik International
Libya is currently divided between two rival governments — an elected parliament in the east of the country, supported by the Libyan National Army (LNA), and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in the west, headed by Fayez Sarraj.

The Libyan parliament speaker has announced an immediate ceasefire across the country, according to a statement.

GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj "issued instructions to all military forces to immediately cease fire and all combat operations in all Libyan territories", the statement said.

In a separate statement, the head of Libya's Tobruk-based parliament Aguila Saleh Issa also called for a ceasefire.

Saleh said his request for a ceasefire arose "because of his political and national responsibility and the current situation in the country and region, as well as because of the circumstances of the pandemic".

"The ceasefire ends the road for any military interventions and must end in the expulsion of all mercenaries and the dissolution of all militias to return full national sovereignty", Saleh said in the statement.

The Tripoli-based government has urged for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in March.

Acting UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Stephanie Williams has welcomed the agreement between the two rival powers in Libya.

"The Acting SRSG to Libya Stephanie Williams warmly welcomes the points of agreement in the declarations issued today by President of the Presidency Council Fayez Al-Serraj and Speaker of the House of Representative Aguila Saleh -- which demonstrate the courage which Libya is in urgent need of during these trying times -- and which call for a ceasefire, in the hope that this will be taken up quickly by the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, with the departure of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libyan soil", the UN official said in a statement.

Williams urged both sides to act on their call for oil production and exports to be resumed as soon as possible.

Moscow welcomes the GNA's initiative on the Libyan ceasefire, a Foreign Ministry source said.

Fighters loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government are seen after taking control of Watiya airbase, southwest of Tripoli, Libya, 18 May 2020.  - Sputnik International
Turkey Says Moscow, Ankara Have 'No Significant Disagreements' on Need for Libya Ceasefire
On 17 August, Turkish and Qatari defence ministers Hulusi Akar and Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah arrived in Tripoli and met with GNA cabinet members and leaders, including Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga. As a result of the visit, Turkey, Qatar, and Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) signed an agreement to establish a Turkish naval base in the Libyan city of Misrata, according to the Al-Arabiya TV channel. The negotiations coincided with a working visit by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is in Tripoli to promote the demilitarisation of the strategic city of Sirte.

Libya has been mired in an internal conflict since its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011. At present, the east of the country is governed by the elected parliament, supported by the LNA, while the west is under the control of the Tripoli-based rival GNA.

Turkey and Egypt have also been involved in the situation by providing military assistance to the GNA and the LNA, respectively.

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