Rival Leaders in Second Libyan Civil War Commit to Ceasefire Brokered by Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron walks with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (R) and General Khalifa Haftar (L), commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA), before a meeting for talks over a political deal to help end Libya?s crisis, Paris, France. Photo: Philippe Wojazer/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • Leaders of Libya’s two main civil war factions have agreed to a ceasefire deal.
  • Deal between UN-recognized government in Tripoli and the Tobruk-based government has been brokered by French President Macron.
  • Rival leaders have agreed to work to organize nation-wide presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya.
  • Elections in Libya could be held in the spring of 2018, according to Macron.
  • France’s President has stressed that the Mediterranean region needs peace, including inside Libya.

The rival leaders in what is known as the Second Civil War in Libya, UN-recognized Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and military commander Khalifa Haftar, have agreed to a ceasefire deal brokered by France’s President Emmanuel Macron.

Libya, a major oil producer, has been in disarray since an Arab Spring revolution in 2011 led to the destruction of the regime of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and his murder by a mob in the street.

Since May 2014, Libya has been engulfed in what is known as the Second Libyan Civil War, in which the government of the Council of Deputies based in Tobruk (also known as the Tobruk government), and led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, is pitted against the National Salvation Government of the General National Congress, which is based in the capital Tripoli, and is recognized by the UN.

There had been reports that Russia might want to support Haftar militarily, the way it has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War. Haftar has also been backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Haftar rejected the authority of Sarraj’s UN-backed government as his forces gained ground in Eastern Libya.

The two main factions in the Second Libyan Civil War met for the first time in exploratory talks Abu Dhabi in May 2017.

‘Mediterranean Needs Peace’

UN-recognized Tripoli-based Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army of the Council of Deputies (Tobruk-based) government, agreed on Tuesday to a ceasefire at a meeting in a Paris suburb, organized with the help of French President Emmanuel Macron, Al Jazeera reported.

Serraj and Haftar, who met at a chateau in La Celle Saint-Cloud outside the French capital, committed to stop using their armed forces except for fighting against terrorist groups.

What is more, they even agreed to work on holding early presidential and parliamentary elections, according to a joint declaration.

“We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counterterrorism,” Serraj and Haftar said in the joint document.

France’s President Macron stated that both Serraj and Haftar had shown “historic courage” in agreeing to the ceasefire.

“I think today the cause of peace has made great progress,” he said at a news conference after the signing of the agreement.

“Libyan people deserve this peace, we owe it to them … the Mediterranean needs this peace,” he added.

Macron urged a political solution to the crisis and proposed that an army had to be working under civilian authority control for the territorial integrity of Libya. In his words, elections could be held in Libya in spring 2018.

The joint declaration called for the demobilization of militia fighters, and for their integration into the regular forces of Libya.

The document also mentions a national amnesty process, a transitional justice system and reparations, while declaring support for the rule of law in Libya and respect for human rights.

Serraj and Haftar still have to sell the deal outlined in the 10-point declaration to the various political factions that have not been directly involved in the talks in Paris, Al Jazeera comments.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first between the Libyan factions since exploratory talks hosted by the UAE in Abu Dhabi in early May.

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