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Libyan sides sign countrywide ceasefire deal, UN says

A Libyan revolutionary fighter runs for cover while attacking pro-Gadhafi forces in Sirte, Libya, in 2011. Libya has been plunged into chaos again, with forces loyal to a polarizing military commander marching on the capital and trading fire with militias aligned with a weak UN-backed government. Picture by Manu Brabo, File, Associated Press
Associated Press Reporter

The United Nations says the two sides in Libyan military talks have reached an "historic achievement" with a permanent ceasefire agreement across the war-torn North African country.

After mediation led by UN envoy Stephanie Turco Williams this week, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the United Nations called an "important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya".

Details were not immediately available, but the two sides were taking part in a signing ceremony in Geneva on Friday morning.

On Wednesday, Ms Williams had said the two warring factions agreed on issues that "directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people," citing agreements to open air and land routes in the country, to work to ease inflammatory rhetoric in Libyan media, and to help kickstart Libya's vital oil industry.

Libya is split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east.

The two sides are backed by an array of local militias as well as regional and foreign powers.

The country was plunged into chaos after the 2011 Nato-backed uprising that toppled and killed long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

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