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Warring parties signed countrywide ceasefire agreement and resumed political talks under UN auspices, while oil production continued to increase. Representatives of UN-backed Govt of National Accord (GNA) and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar-led Arab-Libyan Armed Forces (ALAF) 23 Oct signed countrywide “permanent ceasefire” agreement, following UN-led talks in Geneva. Both sides agreed to stop hostilities across country, withdraw respective forces from front lines, expel foreign mercenaries and freeze foreign military training programs in Libya until new govt is formed. UN late Oct relaunched Libyan Political Dialogue; talks between 75 delegates representing rival camps, Tripoli-based High Council of State (HCS) and Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HOR), and other delegates handpicked by UN took place virtually 26 Oct; in-person meetings scheduled to start 9 Nov in Tunisia; discussions focus on formation of unified cabinet with view to reaching comprehensive political settlement. GNA 30 Oct announced PM Serraj, who last month said he would hand over duties by end of Oct, will stay in office until new govt is formed “to avoid a political vacuum”. Earlier in month, foreign actors hosted meetings between rival camps. Morocco 2-6 Oct convened delegations from rival assemblies to discuss appointment of heads of national institutions including Central Bank of Libya; delegations agreed to appoint either institutions’ chairman or deputy on basis of regional quotas. Egypt 11-13 Oct hosted HCS-HOR talks on constitutional roadmap. Meanwhile, tensions around central city of Sirte early to mid-Oct remained high as both sides reportedly continued to amass equipment and forces in spite of Aug local ceasefire; GNA early month accused Haftar’s camp of violating ceasefire by allegedly launching rockets against GNA positions, which Haftar denied. In attempt to pressure Russian military to withdraw from Libya, EU 15 Oct imposed travel ban and economic sanctions on Kremlin insider Yevgeny Prigozhin. Following Sept deal to lift months-long oil sector blockade, National Oil Corporation progressively lifted force majeure on export terminals and major oil fields, and oil production late-Oct reached 500,000 barrels per day. IMF data in Oct showed Libya’s GDP is expected to shrink by 66% this year and prices to increase by 22%.
Oil exports resumed after rival camps brokered deal to lift months-long oil sector blockade, and rival PMs pledged to step down amid protests. East-based strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar 18 Sept agreed to lift eight-month oil sector blockade and allow resumption of oil sales; move followed weeks of intense diplomatic efforts and meeting between Haftar’s camp and west-based UN-backed PM Serraj’s Deputy Ahmed Meitig in Russia mid-Sept. Central Bank and officials in Tripoli late Sept distanced themselves from deal on grounds that Meitig made too many financial concessions to Haftar camp, but oil exports resumed 26 Sept. Ceasefires declared by rival east-based House of Representatives’ head Aguila Saleh and Serraj in Aug mostly held, despite Haftar’s Arab-Libyan Armed Forces (ALAF) shelling UN-backed Govt of National Accord (GNA) forces’ headquarters west of strategic city of Sirte 1 Sept. Heads of rival assemblies, Saleh and Tripoli-based High State Council’s Khaled Mishri 6-10 Sept met in Morocco and agreed to start consultations on appointment of five top institutional posts, including Central Bank governor; leaders also agreed to appoint members of their institutions to participate in UN-mediated talks scheduled to restart in Oct, with aim to reach agreement on new unified govt to guide country toward general elections within 18 months. Protests against corruption and worsening living conditions subsided in west but continued in east. Protesters 13 Sept set fire to govt headquarters in Benghazi city and attacked police station in al-Marj town, prompting police to fire live ammunition, leaving one dead and several wounded. Amid unrest and in alleged attempt to pressure representatives of various factions to agree on new unity govt, rival PMs announced their intention to step down. East-based PM Abdullah al-Thani 14 Sept tendered his resignation to Saleh, who left him in caretaker capacity until lawmakers review his resignation. Serraj 16 Sept said UN-brokered talks have led to “new preparatory phase” to unify institutions and announced his intention to resign by end of Oct. Two militias loyal to GNA 24 Sept clashed in Tripoli suburb of Tajoura, leaving at least three killed and several wounded.
Head of Tripoli-based UN-backed Govt of National Accord (GNA) PM Serraj announced unilateral ceasefire amid intensifying diplomatic efforts to revive political negotiations, while rival authorities faced series of protests. Germany and U.S. intensified their efforts to find way out of stalemate in oil-rich central Libya, which GNA-allied forces backed by Turkey have been seeking to take back from Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Arab-Libyan Armed Forces (ALAF) in recent months. U.S. President Trump 13 Aug discussed with Turkish President Erdoğan creation of demilitarised zone around Sirte city and nearby Jufra airbase and reopening of Haftar-controlled oil sites. During visit to Libya, German FM Heiko Maas 17 Aug met with Serraj and reiterated calls for demilitarisation of central Libya. Haftar’s spokesperson 19 Aug said ALAF won’t retreat from Sirte and leave city to “invaders”. Serraj 21 Aug announced unilateral ceasefire, called for resumption of oil production and export through Libya’s National Oil Corporation and for presidential and parliamentary elections in March 2021. Haftar’s ally, Tobruk-based House of Representatives Speaker Aghela Saleh, same day expressed support for truce and elections, and proposed Sirte as new capital for Libya. Haftar’s spokesperson 23 Aug dismissed ceasefire, said GNA is planning Turkish-backed offensive on Sirte. Oil and gas export blockade imposed by ALAF remained in force, but Haftar-aligned Petroleum Facilities Guard 19 Aug announced partial lifting of blockade in Marsa al-Brega oil export terminal solely for export of locally stored oil barrels, citing shortage of gas in local power stations. Protests 23 Aug erupted in capital Tripoli and other western cities over deteriorating living conditions and bad governance, and continued in following days; armed men fired live ammunition to disperse protesters in Tripoli wounding several, and abducted at least six. Serraj 29 Aug dismissed Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha allegedly over his handling of protests and subsequently announced plan to reshuffle cabinet. In Sirte, protests late-Aug erupted against Haftar forces and in support of former Qadhafi regime; ALAF forces cracked down on protestors reportedly killing one and arresting over 50.