Saudi Arabia welcomes Libya ceasefire, help ending foreign interference

A destroyed neighbourhood in Sirte, Libya, January 22, 2020. Rival political leaders in Libya announced an immediate cease-fire on August 21 and called for talks to demilitarise Sirte, the seaside city that has become the focus of international efforts to break the stalemated conflict in the oil-rich but dysfunctional North African nation.

Saudi Arabia welcomed ceasefire declarations made by rival Libyan factions on Friday.

In a statement, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The Saudi government welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in the country made by Libya’s Presidential Council and the House of Representatives.”

“The government stresses the need for starting an internal political dialogue that places the Libyan national interest above all considerations. It calls for finding a permanent solution that guarantees security and stability for the Libyan people. Besides, preventing external interference that exposes Arab regional security to risks,” the statement read.

Libya’s warring rival governments announced in separate statements on Friday that they would cease all hostilities. In addition to organizing national elections soon, an understanding swiftly welcomed by the United Nations.

Fayez El-Sarraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of the National Alliance; and Aguila Saleh, speaker of the eastern-based parliament backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar signed the statement.

Important step

Earlier in the day, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi welcomed the ceasefire declarations; calling them an “important step” on the path to restoring stability.

“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.

The UN mission in Libya welcomed both statements and called for the expulsion of all foreign forces and mercenaries; which are fighting on both sides from the country.

“The two initiatives have created hope for forging a peaceful political solution to the longstanding Libyan crisis, a solution that will affirm the desire of the Libyan people to live in peace and dignity,” said Stephanie Williams, acting head of the UN mission.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also welcomed the recent developments on the Libyan front and said that Rome would continue its efforts to find a political solution to the crisis.

The US embassy in Libya said that it welcomed the ceasefire declarations, considering it an important step for all Libyans. Russian authorities also welcomed the ceasefire.