By Sami Zaptia.
Frankfurt, 5 September 2018:
The ceasefire brokered by UNSMIL in Zawia yesterday seems to be holding today as all the main parties committed to the agreement. There were reports of some gunfire early this morning, but there is distinctly less fighting, Tripoli sources told this newspaper.
It will be recalled that two militia coalitions, made up of the Tarhuna-based 7th Infantry Kani Brigade on one side and a coalition of Tripoli Brigades on the other, have been fighting in the southern suburbs of Tripoli since 26 August.
The Faiez Serraj government said in its latest update today that there have, been 63 deaths, 12 missing, 159 injured who were treated in local private hospitals and 15 injured who were treated in Tunisia.
Abdelsalam Ashour, the Minister of Interior for the Faiez Serraj Presidency Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA) said at a press conference today that the situation is stable and progressing normally’’.
With regards to the reopening of Tripoli’s only functioning airport, Mitiga, Serraj’s Minister of Transport, Milad Matug, said that it would re-open ‘‘within 24 hours’’. He confirmed that no damage was inflicted on the airport and it was ‘‘ready to operate as soon as security reaches the desired level’’.
Meanwhile, sources at the heart of yesterday’s ceasefire talks in Zawia, said that UNSMIL were making the right noise with regards to getting tough with militias. ‘‘They seem to want to start acting tough with militias’’, the source said, adding that the gathered militia heads were told that as far as they were concerned, it was now a matter of ‘‘to be or not to be’’.
The source said that UNSMIL made it clear that they ‘‘knew who fired each bullet and when’’. USMIL claimed that within the first week of the ceasefire they would begin to implement the ‘‘security arrangements’’ contained within the 2015 Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement.
When quizzed as to what would this entail in practical terms, the source said that this would start with activating and giving a much greater security role to the Serraj Ministry of Interior Security Directorates across Libya – at the expense of militias.
Asked if those sitting round the Zawia ceasefire negotiating table actually represented all the Tripoli and Tarhua militias, the source felt confident they were all represented. He also felt sure they would respect the ceasefire, but was aware that there were some third parties who could act as spoilers to the ceasefire. To this end, observers were being dispatched to the frontlines to monitor the ceasefire.