Representatives of Tawergha and Misrata sign deal for thousands of displaced Libyans to return home.
A new accord has been struck for thousands of displaced Libyans to return home to a town that sided with former leader Moamer Kadhafi in the 2011 revolution, the country’s unity government said Monday.
Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord, welcomed the reconciliation deal signed late Sunday by representatives of the pro-Kadhafi town of Tawergha and nearby Misrata, 240 kilometres (145 miles) southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
“The return of the inhabitants of Tawergha to their town will mark the start of the return of all Libya’s displaced and exiles inside and outside the country,” Sarraj said on the GNA’s Facebook page.
The 35,000 residents of Tawergha, a town which sided with Kadhafi right up to his fall, were evicted after his overthrow and have since been kept in camps on the outskirts of Tripoli or scattered across Libya.
Living in wretched conditions, they have been the frequent target of attacks by militiamen, especially from Misrata — a city that lost hundreds of lives in the revolt against Kadhafi.
A date has yet to be announced for the return of residents to Tawergha.
An earlier accord with a return date of February 1 saw hundreds of families in cars turned back at roadblocks manned by militiamen from Misrata who control the town.
Since then, the displaced have camped in the desert sleeping in tents donated by UN agencies or shelters provided by nearby towns.
Historic reconciliation in Libya ends seven years’ vendetta between Misurata and Tawergha
The Libyan cities of Misurata and Tawergha have signed a historic reconciliation charter that will oversee the return of the stranded Tawerghan IDPs return to their city after over seven years of displacement.
Misurata hosted on Sunday the singing of the charter of reconciliation in the presence of elders from both cities, government officials and dignitaries from across the country.
The charter will allow the IDPs who live in different cities in Libya, mainly in makeshift camps in Tripoli, Garaet Al-Gataye near Bani Walid, and elsewhere, to gradually return to their houses in their city.
It also tasks the central military zone of the government to secure the city and the return of the IDPs.
Both cities agreed to combat any media campaigns that aim at invoking any new conflicts between them.
Misrata and Tawergha sign peace treaty
By: Abdullah Ben-Ibrahim
The Tawerghan IDPs in east Libya, who back Dignity Operation, rejected the peace treaty, saying “it’s Muslim Brotherhood propaganda”
Misrata and Tawergha signed on Sunday night a historic peace treaty to end dispute between the two cities and allow Tawergha IDPs to return “immediately” to their town, ending a seven-year long chapter of conflict and displacement.
The treaty was signed in Misrata by Misrata mayor and head of Tawergha Local Council.
The Tawerghans apologized to the Misratans about the atrocities committed by their sons in 2011 in Misrata.
The two sides agreed to “turn the page and forget the past,” and promote social peace and coexistence.
According to the treaty, the Tawerghans will work side by side with the Misratans and coordinate with them decisions or any actions they take regarding the public interest, and refrain from taking part in any coalition against the public interest or Misrata security.
“Tawergha should not harbor wanted people or members of terrorist groups,” the treaty states.
It also obliges the Tawerghans to stop media war and protests against Misrata and help in finding the missing people.
The Misratans agreed to allow Tawergha IDPs, who recognize this treaty and promise to implement its items, to return to their town. The return of the IDPs will be supervised by the Central Military Zone and Misrata Security Directorate.
In a first reaction, Libyan Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Gharyani made a TV statement hailing the peace treaty and urging all Libyans to reconcile and allow all IDPs to return to their towns.
Meanwhile, The Tawerghan IDPs in east Libya, who back Dignity Operation, rejected the peace treaty, saying “it’s Muslim Brotherhood propaganda.”
Libyan cities ink reconciliation pact after 7-year feud
Agreement calls for repatriation of thousands of Tawergha residents expelled from city in 2011
The Libyan cities of Misurata and Tawergha have signed a peace treaty, ending a seven-year feud.
On Sunday evening, officials from the two cities signed the agreement, which calls for the repatriation of Tawergha residents forcibly expelled from the city in 2011.
After a bloody NATO-backed uprising ended in the ouster and death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, thousands of Tawergha residents were forcibly expelled from the city for alleged pro-Gaddafi sympathies.
For the last seven years, those displaced residents of Tawergha (which is located roughly 35 kilometers east of Misurata) have remained in displacement camps.
During this time, civilian and military representatives from Misurata — which had staunchly opposed the Gaddafi regime during the uprising — opposed their return to Tawergha.
There are no official statistics regarding the number of displaced Tawergha residents, but unofficial sources put them at roughly 40,000.
On Monday, Qatar welcomed the reconciliation agreement between the two cities.
“Qatar hopes this will be a first step towards reestablishing order and stability between the people of the two cities and reestablishing the [rule of] law and restoring trust in existing institutions…,” Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Reporting by Mohamed Fahd:Writing by Adam Moro