Libya's warring rival governments announced in separate statements Friday that they would cease all hostilities and organize nationwide elections soon, an understanding swiftly welcomed by the United Nations.
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The statements were signed by Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, and Aguila Saleh, speaker of the eastern-based parliament backed by Eastern Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar.
The two have been at war virtually since the formation of Sarraj's government in December 2015.
The Tripoli-based government also called for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in March.
Both administrations called for an end to an oil blockade imposed by rival forces since earlier this year.
Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 former Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.
Forces of Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Hafter launched an offensive in April 2019 trying to capture the capital Tripoli. But his campaign collapsed in June when the Tripoli-allied militias, with Turkish support, gained the upper hand, driving his forces from the outskirts of Tripoli and other western towns.
The UN Support Mission in Libya welcomed both statements and called for the expulsion of all foreign forces and mercenaries in Libya.
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