İrem UZUN -TDO- Libya's two rival governments have simultaneously announced a ceasefire that is due to take effect next week. The announcement signed by both the head of the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj, and General Khalifa Haftar, who controls large swathes of Libya's east and south.

Government of National Accord also called for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in March, and for an end to an oil blockade imposed by rival forces since earlier this year. Fayez al Serraj "issued instructions to all military forces to immediately cease fire and all combat operations in all Libyan territories", a statement said. Al Serraj added the ultimate aim of the truce is to impose "full sovereignty over the Libyan territory and the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries".

Both sides in Libya's civil war have international support. Turkey, Italy and Qatar are among those siding with the GNA in Tripoli, while Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates back General Haftar. France is also thought to back General Haftar, although leaders in Paris have repeatedly denied this. UN arms embargo is in place to stop men and materiel flowing into the country, but it has had little effect. Turkey agreed a military co-operation deal with the GNA in 2019, and deployed troops to the country in January. In June, GNA forces regained full control of Tripoli thanks to greater help from Turkey.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has been a major supporter of the Haftar forces, welcomed the ceasefire declarations. "I welcome statements by Libya's presidential council and the House of Representatives calling for a ceasefire and halting military operations in all Libyan territory," Sisi said in a tweet. He added that the twin announcements were an important step on the path to restoring stability.

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