The Egyptian president announced an initiative to end nearly a decade of civil war in Libya, supported by the main commander in the eastern part of the oil-rich country, whose siege on the capital, Tripoli collapsed this week.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has said that a ceasefire will begin on Monday and intends to pave the way for elections. He called for peace talks in Geneva and the exit of all foreign fighters from Libya.
“There can be no stability in Libya unless peaceful means are found to end the crisis, including the unity and integrity of national institutions,” he said at a press conference.
Beside him was the renegade general Khalifa Haftar, whose forces on Thursday began to withdraw from Tripoli to its central lands in the south and east of the country.
Libya entered civil war after the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. For more than five years it has had rival parliaments and governments in the east and west.
The plan provides for an elected presidential council, with representatives from the three regions of Libya, which will decide for a transition period of 18 months until the elections are held. It prescribes the unification of all financial and oil institutions and the dissolution of militias to give state forces a monopoly on power, said Sisi.
Aguila Saleh, a spokesman for the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, was also with Sisi, while foreign diplomats were present including US, Russian, French and Italian envoys.
However, there were no representatives of the United Nations-recognized government of agreement (GNA) based in Tripoli, nor its main supporters, Turkey and Qatar.
Although that administration did not immediately comment, a spokesman for the military forces allied with it said it will continue to fight to recapture the city of Sirte from Haftar’s forces, which seized it in January.
This week, after the capital’s siege, Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha had hailed “the beginning of the end of the entire dictatorship project” and urged cities under Haftar’s control to rebel against him and spare himself further conflict. .
Western powers are pushing forces loyal to the GNA not to exploit its new military advantage by pushing deeply eastward but instead to allow the resumption of peace talks with the aim of creating a new government of national unity.
Multiple previous attempts to establish a truce and a return to negotiations have been well founded, although the United Nations has begun to hold separate talks with both sides for a ceasefire agreement in the past few days.