Warring Libya rivals sign truce but tough political talks ahead

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GENEVA/TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libya’s warring factions signed a permanent ceasefire agreement on Friday, but any lasting end to years of chaos and bloodshed will require wider agreement among myriad armed groups and the outside powers that support them.

Acting United Nations envoy Stephanie Williams said the ceasefire would start immediately and all foreign fighters must quit Libya within three months. Forces would withdraw from front lines and a new joint police force would secure those areas.

As a first commercial passenger flight in more than a year crossed front lines from Tripoli to the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, Williams noted Libya’s “fraught” recent history, one of numerous broken truces and failed political solutions.

“But we shouldn’t let the cynics win,” she said, hailing both sides for their “courage” in agreeing a ceasefire and saying they deserved international support.

Friday’s agreement was reached after the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in June beat back Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) from its 14-month assault on the capital.

Since then, frontlines have stabilised near the central coastal city of Sirte and the LNA ended its eight-month blockade of Libyan oil output that was strangling state finances on both sides.

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