21 – 27 October: Libyan parties agree to ceasefire

Oct 29, 2020 | Libyan actors

On 23 October, delegations from the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA) signed what they called a ‘complete, countrywide’ and ‘permanent’ ceasefire agreement. The two sides were meeting in Geneva for the fourth round of talks under the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). The agreement, which specified that all mercenaries and foreign fighters should leave Libya within three months, is meant to be ratified in Tunis during face-to-face talks scheduled for November, when a new Presidential Council (PC), interim government and 18-month timetable for elections are also to be set.

On 23 October, GNA Minister of Interior Fathi Bashaagha welcomed the agreement, and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq similarly released a statement praising the initiative. The head of the LNA, Khalifa Haftar, has not commented as of this writing, but LNA spokesperson Ahmed Mismari claimed the agreement had the full commitment of the LNA.

On the same day, the first commercial passenger flight from Tripoli landed at Benghazi’s Benina airport, marking the first such flight in more than one year. The flight occurred as part of the ‘permanent ceasefire deal’ reached between GNA and LNA delegations.

On 20 October, GNA Commander of the Sirte-Jufra Operations Room, Ibrahim Beit al-Mal, called upon the head of the GNA, Fayez al-Serraj, to remove Libyan Media Foundation chief Mohammed Bayou from his role. The call came after the Libya al-Wataniya TV channel removed the Volcano of Rage logo and replaced it with the ‘Peace_Media’ hashtag. Later that evening the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade (TRB) illegally arrested Bayou, who was described as having ‘spoken out strongly against Islamist groups as well as many of the armed forces’ in Libya. Bayou had previously claimed that the TRB commander, Ayoub Borras, had threatened him.

On 21 October, Sabratha armed forces, under the command of Ahmed Dabbashi (also known as al-Ammo), clashed with the al-Shalfouh militia from Ajalat along the main coastal road at a checkpoint between Tallil and Ras Yusuf. The two groups were reportedly engaged in a dispute over the control over the territory within the Ajaylat-Sabratha administrative borders.

On 24 October, a spokesperson for the GNA Volcano of Rage Operation, Mohammed Qananou, urged the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to send monitoring teams to Sirte, Jufra and Brak al-Shati airbase to oversee the departure of foreign mercenaries, stating, ‘we don’t trust [LNA Commander Khalifa] Haftar’s militias’ ability to force over 5,000 mercenaries … out of Libya’.