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Libya’s Sarraj, Haftar Agree to Ceasefire, Elections Next Spring | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French President Emmanuel Macron stands between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (L), and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar (R) after talks, near Paris, France. July 25, 2017 (Reuters)

Paris – Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and Commander of the Libyan Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar agreed in an unprecedented joint statement on Tuesday to commit to a conditional ceasefire and to hold elections next spring.

Following hours of official meetings held under the auspices of French President Emmanuel Macron and chaired by the new UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salameh, in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Paris, the two Libyan leaders signed a 10-point declaration, in which they pledged to commit to ceasefire, hold elections and integrate all militias within a unified national army under political control.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Arab diplomatic sources underlined the importance of Tuesday’s achievement, noting however: “What is most important is whether it will find its way to implementation.”

The sources went on to say that obstacles, which have prevented the execution of previous agreements and commitments despite international pressure “have not magically disappeared, but are still in place”.

“Yet, a number of field and political changes” may contribute to pushing the warring parties to finally accept the road map, according to the sources.

The declaration stressed that the two leaders have agreed that only a political solution could end the ongoing crisis.

“We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism”, the joint statement said.

Sarraj and Haftar also agreed to work to hold elections as soon as possible under UN supervision, according to the statement. The French president said elections would be held in spring next year.

Other points in the declaration included fighting terrorism, curbing the waves of migration through Libyan costs, and preventing the destabilization of North African and Sahel countries.

Another important point is the establishment of unified national institutions, including a central bank and a national oil corporation.

The meeting between the two rival leaders is the second in the space of three months, as a meeting was held in Abu Dhabi in May but saw no agreement on a joint communiqué.

In a news conference following Tuesday’s encounter, Macron said: “The courage that is yours today by being here and by agreeing to this joint declaration is historic.”

“I believe profoundly that civil war is not inevitable, and that through dialogue peace can win through, that’s what the step taken today is trying to show through concrete actions,” he added.