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Libya official: ‘Sirte completely cleared of troops’

November 12, 2020 at 5:00 am

Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed unity government are seen in front of a power plant in Sirte, Libya on 2 June 2016 [MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images]

A member of the Libyan government’s delegation of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) announced on Wednesday that the city of Sirte has been cleared of military forces, as part of the comprehensive ceasefire agreement between the parties to the conflict in the country.

In statements broadcast by the local private channel Libya Al Ahrar, Brigadier General Al-Fitouri Gharibel confirmed: “The city of Sirte is currently emptied of troops and there are only security forces there.”

Last week, Gharibel proclaimed that the withdrawal of all forces from the Sirte and Jufra regions would be gradual, as both regions are lines of contact according to the ceasefire agreement signed in Geneva, Switzerland.

On 23 October, the United Nations (UN) announced that the two parties to the conflict in Libya had reached a ceasefire agreement following discussions held by the JMC in Geneva.

The JMC (5+5) includes five representatives of the legitimate Libyan government and five members from the militia of General Khalifa Haftar.

Gharibel indicated that the two JMC delegations will discuss the issue of the opening of roads closed due to military operations in the country on Wednesday’s sessions held in the city of Sirte.

READ: Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Libya? 

On Tuesday, the UN mission in Libya announced the start of the sixth round of talks of the Libyan JMC (5+5) in Sirte.

The mission added in a statement: “This round of talks will continue until 13 November and is intended to speed up the implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed in Geneva on 23 October.”

The JMC held five earlier rounds, four in Geneva, while the last meeting was held for the first time in Libya, in the town of Ghadames, between 2 and 4 November.

The sixth round coincided with the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which was launched in Tunis last Monday with the participation of 75 Libyan personalities under the auspices of the UN, amid aspirations of reaching a comprehensive solution to the crisis.

For years, Libya has been witnessing an armed conflict as Haftar’s militias, with the support of Arab and Western countries, contest the internationally-recognised Libyan government over legitimacy and authority in the oil-rich country.