19 – 25 August: Ceasefire announcements by GNA and HoR

Aug 27, 2020 | Libyan actors

On 21 August, the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced a nationwide ceasefire, calling for the demilitarisation of Sirte, parliamentary and presidential elections in March 2021 and the resumption of oil production. The speaker of the eastern-based House of Representatives (HoR), Aqeela Saleh, reiterated the call for a ceasefire along similar terms, calling for the demilitarised city of Sirte to become a temporary seat for a restructured Presidential Council (PC) as per his so-called ‘Cairo initiative.’ The GNA’s Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashaagha, welcomed the ceasefire and stressed the need for serious dialogue. Interestingly, Bashaagha stated, ‘The ceasefire would not have happened without the support of the United States, Turkey and Egypt.’. There are reports that Saleh and the head of the High State Council (HCS), Khalid al-Mishri, are slated to possibly meet in Morocco on 28 August to discuss reforming the PC. This has yet to be confirmed by either side.

On 23 August, the Libyan Nation Army (LNA) spokesperson, Ahmed al-Mismari, labelled the GNA’s effort as a ‘marketing stunt’ while not commenting on the HoR statement. Mismari expressed skepticism about the GNA’s commitment to a ceasefire, claiming that the GNA had continued to mobilize military forces to Sirte. Mismari claimed that the LNA remains posed in their positions in Sirte, Jufra and southern Libya to repel any attack by the GNA.

On 23 August, multiple protests occurred throughout the western region, specifically in Tripoli and in Zawiyya, that saw civilians criticising the GNA and the current issues concerning power, water, and corruption. Protestors in Tripoli demonstrated outside the GNA headquarters and then moved to Martyrs’ Square. Several of those demonstrating presented white flags to indicate that they were not affiliated or supportive of any of the competing political coalitions. Reports of the protests in Tripoli suggest that Ministry of Interior (MoI)-aligned armed groups opened fire on the civilians, subsequently receiving widespread condemnation.