UN says ceasefire deal reached in Libya
Updated 19:39, 23-Oct-2020

Libya's warring sides inked an agreement on observing "a permanent ceasefire in all areas of Libya," announced the United Nations Support Mission in Libya on its official Facebook handle on Friday, livestreaming the signing ceremony.

"The 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission talks in Geneva today culminate in a historic achievement as Libyan teams reach a permanent ceasefire agreement across Libya. This achievement is an important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya," the UN's Libya mission said.

The UN said the deal takes effect immediately. 

Stephanie Williams, the UN's envoy to the troubled North African country, said it was "a moment that will go down in history". 

"You have met for the sake of Libya, for your people in order to take concrete steps to put an end to their suffering," she said at the signing ceremony.

Nobody can love Libya as much as you do," said Williams, who heads the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). 

"The road was long and difficult at times. Your patriotism was your way forward and you were able to reach a ceasefire agreement. 

"I hope that this agreement will help put an end to the suffering of the Libyan people and we hope it will allow the displaced and refugees inside and outside the country to return to their homes and to live in peace and safety." 

Libya has been wracked by nearly a decade of conflicts.

The capital Tripoli in the west is held by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, while a parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk is backed by forces led by military commander Khalifa Haftar.

(With input from Reuters, AFP)

(Cover: A view of the buildings ravaged by war, near the old popular market known as the Souk al-Jureid, in Benghazi, Libya, February 21, 2019. /Reuters)