TUNIS, 12 November 2020 – Libya’s two most important warring factions have agreed to hold elections within 18 months, the United Nations told reporters during a press conference Thursday in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.

The United Nations acting envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams hailed the agreement as a “breakthrough”, coming soon after the warring factions last month agreed a ceasefire in Switzerland.

The conference has agreed a road map to “free, fair, inclusive and credible parliamentary and presidential elections”, Williams said.

Stephanie Williams UNSMIL – Photo UN

The two factions that reached the agreement in Tunisia are the Tripoli-based, U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarrai and the rival government based in the east of the country and supported by Khalifa Haftar, a renegade military commander who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA).

Libya has been locked in violence since 2011 when NATO-supported raids ousted Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The U.N. said there was momentum for peace in Libya, pointing among others, to the fact that a joint military commission by the two factions also agreed Thursday to work out the details of a truce that will see their forces withdraw from the frontlines in Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown.

The deal will allow the setting up of a unified transitional government to oversee the elections, to begin the process of national reconciliation, transitional justice and attend the issues of the displaced persons and refugees.

Seventy-five participants participated in the conference which opened Monday. A day after the conference opened, unidentified gunmen assassinated dissident lawyer Hanan al-Barassi in Benghazi leading Williams to remind participants of the urgency “for Libyans to really end this long period of crisis and division and fragmentation and impunity”.

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