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Current Affairs

Libya ceasefire agreement

Date: 25 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Rival parties in Libya have announced a historic ceasefire followed by five days of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) talks in Geneva.

 

Background

Libya has been embroiled in a tussle for power between rival militias ever since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power by NATO-backed forces.

 

Details

  • In the wake of Gaddafi’s ouster, dozens of militias led by multiple warlords scrambled to occupy the power vacuum.

  • As a result, Libya turned into a war zone with different militant leaders claiming control of the North African nation.

  • Some of the issues of dispute among the warring factions include control of the oil infrastructure, governance, national finances, and the military.

  • The UN-backed internationally recognised government called the Government of National Accord (GNA) is led by Fayez al-Sarraj, whose Tripoli-based government is supported by allies Qatar and Turkey.

  • The eastern part of Libya is controlled by rebel forces under the Libyan National Army (LNA) that is led by General Khalifa Haftar who are supported by Russian military contractors.

  • Between 2014-2019, the LNA has conducted military operations against the Islamic State in the east. The spread of the Islamic State has further complicated the situation and is also one reason the US is one of the foreign states that has intervened.

  • As per this new agreement facilitated by the UN, all foreign mercenaries and armed forces will have to withdraw within the next 90 days and the parties also agreed that any violations in the ceasefire will be dealt by a joint military force.

  • The ceasefire, however, does not apply to UN-designated terrorist groups. The agreement has also established a Joint Police Operations room that will implement and propose special arrangements to secure the areas that are cleared of military units and armed groups.

  • Further, the 5+5 have also agreed to open the land and air routes that connect the regions and cities of Libya.

  • Significantly, Libya has Africa’s largest oil and gas reserves and with regards to oil production, the different parties have agreed that the commanders of the petroleum facilities from the east and west will work directly with a representative who will be appointed by the National Oil Corporation (NOC).

  • This is a significant development since control of the oil infrastructure is one the elements of competition between the GNA and LNA.