The signing of the permanent ceasefire agreement reached by the delegations of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the general command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) at the meetings of the 5 + 5 Joint Military Committee in Geneva witnessed an international welcome from all parties concerned with the Libyan file, as it represents the creation of an atmosphere for a comprehensive and just political solution that does not exclude any party that seeks to establish a long-awaited comprehensive national reconciliation.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres affirmed that the agreement is an essential step towards peace and stability in Libya. He said in a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, “I congratulate the parties for giving priority to the interest of their nation over their differences.”
On October 23, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez also welcomed the ceasefire agreement that Libyan officials reached in the ongoing talks in Geneva.
The success achieved came as a continuation of the first direct meeting hosted by Egypt in Hurghada at the end of September, Hafez explained. He also appreciated the LNA’s agreement to maintain calm on the front lines and to avoid escalation, calling on the countries involved in the Libyan issue to contribute to the current effort and to ensure there is no escalation.
Hafez expressed Egypt’s aspiration to continue efforts related to the political track and support the efforts of the UN envoy to Libya to achieve the main goal of ensuring stability in Libya and preserving its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the need for foreign forces to depart from the country.
On Friday, October 23, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki expressed the AU’s welcoming of the ceasefire agreement, which was signed by the two Libyan parties as the Libyan Joint Military Committee in Geneva.
The decision is important due to its repercussions on the country’s future and the possibility of investing it in political and strategic terms, especially since it came after military meetings that were hosted by Egypt in Hurghada on September 28 and 29, which included two delegations of the army and police representing the GNA and the LNA, under the auspices of the United Nations. The agreement is therefore an important step towards the success of what was agreed upon in these meetings.
Another important step that came earlier was the Cairo Declaration by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on June 6 in the presence of Libyan Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh and LNA commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The Hurghada meetings were followed by Egypt’s hosting of the constitutional track meetings on October 11 and 12, which resulted in the presentation of many discussions and alternatives that would achieve peace and stability in Libya.
These steps represent a map for what the future of the conflict in the country could be and a picture of the possibility of achieving good initiatives towards a permanent ceasefire in Libya, disarming armed groups, and stopping the flow of mercenaries, especially those supported by Turkey, as well as stopping elements of transnational terrorist groups.
Terms of the agreement
The ceasefire agreement, mediated by the United Nations and supported by the countries that participated in the Berlin Summit held on January 19, includes 12 items:
First: General principles
- Emphasis on the unity of Libyan territory and the protection of its borders by land, sea and air.
- Refraining from subjugating national decisions and the country’s capabilities to any foreign power.
- Combating terrorism being a common national policy in which all the state’s political and security institutions contribute.
- The need to respect human rights and the rules of international humanitarian law.
- The terms of the agreement include all Libyan territory.
Second: Terms of the agreement
- The Military Committee agreed to an immediate ceasefire, which became effective the moment the agreement was signed.
- Evacuating all contact lines from military units and armed groups by returning them to their camps, in conjunction with the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libyan lands by land, sea and air within a maximum period of three months from the date of the signing of the ceasefire, as well as freezing military agreements for training inside Libya and the departure of training crews until the new unified government takes over its work. In addition, the security room formed under the agreement is tasked with proposing and implementing special security arrangements to ensure the security of the areas evacuated by the military units and armed groups.
- The formation of a military force limited in number of regular soldiers under a room to be formed by the committee to act as a force that contributes to reducing expected violations, given that all parties provide the necessary resources for it to operate.
- The immediate counting and classifying of armed groups and entities, with all their names, whether included in the state or not, and the reintegration of their members individually into state institutions.
- Stopping the media escalation and hate speech currently rampant by a group of audio-visual broadcasting channels and websites.
- Opening all roads and land crossings, provided that urgent measures are taken to open and secure the following roads: the coastal Benghazi-Sirte-Misrata-Tripoli road, the Misrata-Abu Qurain-Jufra-Sabha-Ghat road, and the Gharyan-Shwerf-Sabha-Murzuq road.
- Assigning the Commander of the Petroleum Facilities Guard in the Western Region, the Commander of the Petroleum Facilities Guard in the Eastern Region, and the representative of the National Oil Corporation to communicate and submit a proposal on restructuring and organizing the Facilities Guard in order to ensure the continued flow of oil and to submit the proposal to the Military Committee.
- Stopping arrests based on identity or political affiliation, and limiting the prosecution and arrest of those who are criminally wanted.
- Take urgent measures to exchange detainees due to military operations or identity capture.
- In light of the prevailing positive atmosphere and factors of full confidence, the Military Committee, in conjunction with the UN Mission team, will prepare a mechanism to monitor the implementation of this agreement.
- The ceasefire against terrorist groups designated by the United Nations does not apply to all Libyan territories.
- The 5+5 Committee recommends and urges the UN Mission to refer the signed ceasefire agreement to the UN Security Council to issue a decision binding on all internal and foreign parties.
Despite the international welcome and optimism of the agreement, the Turkish position was completely opposite to these efforts, which heralds an unclear future for the implementation of these provisions on the ground.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself commented on the agreement during a press conference held after Friday prayers on October 23 in a mosque in Istanbul. He considered the agreement to be of weak credibility and believes that the coming days will show the extent of his ability to withstand.
The Turkish position on the ceasefire in Libya comes is due to the second article of the agreement, which stipulates that all foreign fighters must leave Libya within a period not exceeding ninety days. This means that Turkey will lose one of its most important tools in Libya, namely Ankara’s foreign mercenaries.