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Ceasefire declared between militias and recognized government in Libya

Not all of the North African nation's fragmented militias have agreed to the truce.

By
Fred Lambert

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The internationally-recognized government in eastern Libya announced Sunday its commitment to a ceasefire with a rival government in the country's west, though not all of the North African nation's fragmented militias have agreed to the truce.

The announcement comes three days after the first round of political dialogue between the factions came to a close in Geneva, Switzerland. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya hosted the talks, which were seen as a final effort to prevent all-out war between the internationally recognized government based out of Tobruk and the General National Congress, a separate government that was propped up by rival militants in Tripoli, to the west.

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After the ouster of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, rebel factions turned on one another, forming competing governments in the east and west of the country and battling for control for the past four years.

The GNC agreed to the same truce two days ago, though several other militias not affiliated with either group have not agreed to the arrangement.

The UN released a statement saying it "welcomes the unilateral announcements by the parties in Libya for a ceasefire to resolve the conflict peacefully through dialogue" and that it "calls on the parties to work with UNSMIL on the specific elements of the ceasefire, including the mechanism to ensure compliance with it."

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The GNC said Friday that it would agree to the ceasefire, which includes operations in air, sea and land, so long as "the other parties respect the truce." For its part, the Tobruk government said that its forces would still pursue terrorists, and that its soldiers could return fire if attacked.

The ceasefire would allow international organizations to operate in the country once more, the UN said, as well as open up the flow of humanitarian aid to communities in need.

Talks are set to resume in Geneva next week. The GNC said it would only take part if the talks were held in Ghat, Libya, but the group said it was willing to negotiate the matter.

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