The rival authorities in Libya announced separately on Friday the organization of elections soon and the cessation of all fighting in the territory, a "deal" welcomed by the UN.
Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based, UN-recognized Presidential Council of the Government of National Unity (GNA), called for "presidential and parliamentary elections in March on a constitutional basis that enjoys the consensus of all Libyans," according to a Facebook statement.
For his part, Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the parliament, based in the east of the country, announced in a separate statement that the elections would be held without giving a date. He called on "all parties" to observe "an immediate ceasefire and a halt to all fighting throughout Libya".
Immediately after the communiqués were issued, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, whose country has considered deploying troops to neighbouring Libya, welcomed the announcement by the rival authorities.
THE LIBYA STORY
Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, Libya has been plagued by multiple conflicts and a struggle for influence between two rival authorities: the (GNA), and a power embodied by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strong man from the East who has the support of part of the elected parliament and in particular its president, Aguila Saleh.
The GNA, supported by Ankara, succeeded in repelling an offensive by Marshal Haftar launched in April 2019 against Tripoli, regaining control of the entire north-western part of the country in June.
After more than a year of deadly fighting, Sarraj "ordered all armed forces to immediately cease fire and stop all combat operations throughout Libya," which he said would allow the creation of demilitarised zones in Sirte (north) and the Joufra region further south, currently under pro-Haftar control.
In the statement by Aguila Saleh, issued Friday by the United Nations Mission of Support in Libya, Mr. Saleh does not however mention the demilitarization of Sirte and Joufra but proposes the installation of a new government in Sirte, the birthplace of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi and then stronghold of the Islamic State (EI) group.
The Mission in a statement, though, welcomed what it calls "the understanding in today's statements by Prime Minister (Fayez) al-Sarraj and President Aguila (Saleh), calling for a ceasefire and the resumption of the political process".