Middle East

Warring Libya sides to open main road, implement truce, UN says

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libya’s warring sides will immediately reopen the main coastal road connecting the vast country’s east and west across front lines, the United Nations said on Thursday, as part of a ceasefire deal agreed last month.

The two sides set up a joint military commission meeting in the frontline city of Sirte where they are hammering out ways to implement the UN-brokered truce pact they struck in Geneva.

Speaking at the commission’s new Sirte headquarters, a member of the United Nations’ Libya mission said the two sides would immediately begin work to reopen the road, including the removal of landmines and withdrawing fighters from the area.

Foreign fighters and mercenaries are to be transferred to Tripoli or Benghazi before departing Libya by January 23 as laid out in the Geneva ceasefire agreement.

The implementation of the ceasefire is happening alongside political talks taking place in Tunis, where 75 delegates chosen by the United Nations on Wednesday agreed to hold elections within 18 months.

However, many Libyans remain skeptical that the peacemaking efforts will truly end years of carnage and division, with both sides in the war internally split among rival factions and foreign powers pouring in arms and mercenaries.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfali, writing by Angus McDowall, editing by Mark Heinrich

FILE – In this October 21, 2020 file photo, Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, speaks about the fourth round of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission, during a press conference at the European headquarters of the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. The UN said Libya’s rivals wrapped up their military talks in the Libyan oasis town of Ghadames, late Tuesday, November 3, 2020, with a call to the UN Security Council to adopt a binding resolution to implement a cease-fire deal inked in Geneva in October. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File)

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