Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) are inching in towards sealing an agreement on demilitarizing the strategic city of Sirte and transforming it into the capital of the new authority in the North African nation, sources with knowledge of the matter reported.
The sources, speaking under the conditions of anonymity, said that the GNA and LNA have reached a preliminary agreement to demilitarize Sirte and to establish armistice in the city which is located between Tripoli and Benghazi.
An undeclared arrangement finalized between Turkey and Russia kickstarted the withdrawal of fighters on both rival sides in Sirte, it also ushered in the formation of a joint force that includes elements from the LNA and GNA, the same sources revealed.
Tribes from Libya’s three main regions will participate in the joint forces.
According to the arrangement, LNA forces, who currently control Sirte, will redeploy forces to the strategic city’s outer skirts in exchange for the GNA also doing the same with regard to repositioning their forces.
A top Libyan official, speaking under the conditions of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the demilitarization of Sirte is a prelude for a major deal that will end the crisis and suffering in Libya.
The official pointed out that arrangements being completed in regional and international negotiations will put the military option for ending the conflict in Libya on ice.
Other unofficial sources spoke about intentions to abolish the military and security agreement signed between Turkey and the GNA last year. US and UN officials are discussing with the GNA’s interior ministry the merger of its loyalist militias with state security apparatuses.
In other news, LNA forces announced on Wednesday killing the leader of ISIS in North Africa during a raid in the southern desert city of Sebha earlier this month.
Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said Abu Moaz al-Iraqi was among nine extremists killed during the raid but was only identified afterward.