On the day following the unexpected cease-fire in Libya, citizens awaken to silenced guns, international praise, and rumors.
Rabat – International actors have cheered developments in Libya following the sudden ceasefire agreement. Rumors abound as Libyans wake to silenced guns. The shock announcement of a ceasefire supported by both sides in Libya’s conflict caught many foreign policy experts off guard. Local embassies and international organizations praised the agreement, while for Libyans much remains uncertain.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the first to release a statement following the GNA and LNA announcements. El-Sisi called the move an “important step towards a political settlement.” The Egyptian reaction was soon followed by Canada and the US, which similarly reiterated the importance of the event. The Italian foreign ministry urged all parties to commit to the agreement while the Arab League welcomed the declaration in a statement online.
Saudi Arabia has called for internal dialogue in order to realize a “permanent solution” that “guarantees the stability of the Libyan people.” The Saudis stated that “external interference” in Libya “endangers Arab security.” Turkey and France, who supported opposite sides in the conflict both applauded the ceasefire in Libya as a welcome development.
The unexpected announcement of a ceasefire resulted in rumors swirling in Libya. A Spokesman for the Tripoli-government’s Libyan Army cast doubt on the efficacy of the ceasefire, stating,“The Libyan Army can not trust Haftar’s militias after all the crimes they have committed.” Disagreements over the status of Sirte as a demilitarized city where a transitional government could form an obstacle.
Social Media was a prime source for rumors about the ceasefire in Libya. Obscure Turkish news outlets reporting claimed to quote an unsourced statement by the Libyan State Supreme Council. “Any dialogue or agreement should only be between elected institutions,” they quoted, “the revolt must be ended and the government must be given the opportunity to fully expand its control.”
If reporting by GNA-aligned institutions like the Libyan army and the State Supreme Council is correct, it could indicate that some in the GNA alliance would prefer to continue fighting in light of recent victories against Khalifa Haftar’s LNA.
On the ground in Libya, the country experienced a quiet morning. For the first time since the temporary ceasefire to mark Eid al Fitr, guns remained silent in Libya. While no artillery could be heard in Libya, the local oil industry started roaring back to life. The National Oil Corporation announced that they’ve already started oil exports, and revenue would be collected until the GNA and LNA reach a political settlement.
A large convoy of hundreds of GNA trucks was spotted on Social Media entering the town of Al-Asaba in the afternoon It appears the GNA is still being careful as Turkish drones from Al-Wutyah air base accompanied the convoy.
For the first time in years, hope for a peaceful resolution can once again emerge in Libya. Although there are reports of groups of LNA soldiers that continue to carry arms, no violence has been reported. As Libya’s oil industry restarts and a platform for political dialogue has opened, Libyans can once again cautiously hope for peace in their country.