Weekly Digest – Libya (05th January 2021)

Weekly Highlights

  • UN chief recommends Libya cease-fire monitors based in Sirte
  • Libya’s Central Bank starts working with new exchange rate
  • Government forces clash with Haftar’s troops in Sabha
  • UN Mission Announces Establishment of Libyan Political Dialogue Forum Advisory Committee
  • Ship with 265 migrants rescued off Libya finds safe harbour in Sicily
  • Currency Exchange:
    • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 4.4659
    • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 5.15

UN chief recommends Libya cease-fire monitors based in Sirte

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is recommending that international monitors be deployed to Libya under a U.N. umbrella to observe the October cease-fire agreement from a base in the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway to the country’s major oil fields and export terminals.  The U.N. chief said in an interim report to the Security Council on proposed cease-fire monitoring arrangements circulated Monday that an advance team should be sent to Libya’s capital Tripoli as a first step to “provide the foundations for a scalable United Nations cease-fire monitoring mechanism based in Sirte.” The October cease-fire agreement called for the withdrawal of all armed forces from conflict lines and the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters within three months.  AP NEWS

Libya’s Central Bank starts working with new exchange rate

The Libyan Central Bank started Sunday implementing the new exchange rate of the Libyan dinar to be 4.48 per 1 US dollar.  The Central Bank of Libya said the new exchange rate will be used for all purposes; government, trade or personal uses, adding that only 18 years old or above individuals can buy foreign currency from banks which will allow each illegible citizen 20.000 dollars per year.  Meanwhile, the Presidential Council issued Sunday morning a statement suspending the 2018 decision of imposing fees on dollar purchase transactions at commercial banks for three months, adding that the period could be extended, conditioning the suspension to the implementation of the new exchange rate by the Central Bank of Libya.  LIBYA OBSERVER

Government forces clash with Haftar’s troops in Sabha

Clashes erupted on Monday between forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army in southern Libya, Italian news agency Agenzia Nova has reported.  Fighting in the southern city of Sabha erupted after government troops caused traffic congestion in front of the headquarters of the Libyan National Army, local sources told Agenzia Nova.  The fighting ended after forces from the Libyan National Army took control of headquarters behind the Red Crescent in Sabha, which was controlled by the GNA.  The military strongman’s forces control most of the southwest of Libya, but some armed tribal groups still owe allegiance to the GNA in Tripoli.  ARAB NEWS

UN Mission Announces Establishment of Libyan Political Dialogue Forum Advisory Committee

United Nations Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Stephanie Williams announced the establishment of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s Advisory Committee.  The UN Support Mission in Libya received a total of 28 nominations from the LPDF, revealed the mission in a statement on Saturday. “We commend the enthusiasm demonstrated by the LPDF members in the nomination process. In line with the LPDF’s core principle of inclusivity, the Mission has expanded the membership of the Advisory Committee to 18 members to ensure broad geographical and political diversity as well as the participation of women, youth, and cultural components,” it added.  AAWSAT

Ship with 265 migrants rescued off Libya finds safe harbour in Sicily

A Proactiva Open Arms ship carrying 265 migrants picked up from the Mediterranean Sea has found safe harbour at Porto Empedocle in Sicily, the non-governmental organization said Monday.  The organization said the migrants, mostly from Eritrea, were rescued by the Spanish-flagged Open Arms vessel. The group, which also included migrants from Sudan, Syria and Egypt, fled Libya aboard a wooden boat in the Mediterranean Sea and was found Saturday about 110 miles north of the Libyan coast.  On Sunday, the International Organization for Migration said that 79 migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast and another eight were missing. Those rescued included 13 women and seven children.  UPI


List of holidays in Libya 2021

17 FebWednesdayLibyan Revolution DayPublic Holiday
1 MaySaturdayMay DayPublic Holiday
13 MayThursdayEid al-FitrPublic Holiday
14 MayFridayEid al-Fitr HolidayPublic Holiday
15 MaySaturdayEid al-Fitr HolidayPublic Holiday
19 JulMondayDay of ArafahPublic Holiday
20 JulTuesdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
21 JulWednesdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
22 JulThursdayEid al-AdhaPublic Holiday
10 AugTuesdayMuharramPublic Holiday
16 SepThursdayMartyrs’ DayPublic Holiday
19 OctTuesdayThe Prophet’s BirthdayPublic Holiday
23 OctSaturdayLiberation DayPublic Holiday
24 DecFridayIndependence DayPublic Holiday

Exchange rates – Libyan Dinar

According to our most recent information (03rd January 2021) the Libyan Dinar has the following exchange rates.

The exchange rate from your own bank or credit card company will differ somewhat from the exchange rates as mentioned above. Your bank or credit card company might also apply additional international charges.


Do not travel to Libya due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom. Westerners and U.S. citizens have been targets of these crimes.

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Libya. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against citizens. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, hotels, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

Outbreaks of violence between competing armed groups can occur with little warning and have the potential to impact citizens. The capital, Tripoli, and other cities, such as Surman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Sabha, and Dernah, have witnessed fighting among armed groups, as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels and airports frequented by Westerners have been the targets of these attacks. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

For the latest advice from the Libyan government, please visit the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) webpage at ncdc.org.ly/Ar/

If you decide to travel to Libya:

  • Carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Make contingency plans to leave.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organisation or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization.

Clashes between GNA, Haftar’s forces erupt in Libya’s south

Armed clashes between Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s forces took place Sunday within Sabha military zone of the (GNA) near the Red Crescent building.

Sources said the clashes took place when Sabha military zone officers of the GNA gathered to read out a congratulatory statement of Libya’s Independence Day and the GNA-commanded Libyan Army parade that was held in Tripoli on December 24.  The sources added that Haftar’s forces blocked a road near GNA’s Sabha military zone, whose personnel opened fire on the fighters blocking the road, thus leading them to respond to the source of fire.  The clashes caused road congestion, but nobody was injured or killed from the two sides, according to the sources, adding that the clashes ended shortly after they started despite Haftar forces’ closure of roads leading to Sabha military zone headquarters.

Haftar forces reject UN proposal for international ceasefire monitors in Libya

A military official of Haftar’s forces expressed their party’s rejection for the UN Secretary General’s proposal to dispatch foreign monitors in Libya.  The monitors sent to Libya would be comprised of civilians and retired soldiers from international bodies, such as the African Union, European Union, and the Arab League, and they would be tasked with ensuring that the ceasefire agreement is respected by both party’s side of the conflict.

The monitors would also join Libyan forces in reporting on the ceasefire, withdrawal of foreign forces and removal of mines and other explosives.  Haftar’s representative stated that the proposal to dispatch foreign forces in Libya would be an unacceptable interference in the country’s affairs.  He also emphasised that their forces would restore stability to the country without foreign interference, noting that the joint military commission is making great efforts to implement its decisions on the ground in a way that guarantees a permanent ceasefire.

Mounting Voices within GNA Reject Implementation of Libya Ceasefire

Voices of rejection have been mounting among the militias allied with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) over the implementation of the 5+5 military committee’s ceasefire agreement.  The UN-sponsored agreement was reached between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and GNA in October.  

Salah Badi, commander of the al-Somoud militias in Misrata, announced his rejection to open the coastal road between the western city and the central city of Sirte in line with the agreement.  A spokesman for Badi, who is wanted locally and internationally on war crimes charges, said the militia will not open the road before the LNA pulls out from Sirte and al-Jufra.  In the southern city of Sabha, clashes erupted between the LNA and GNA.


The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has announced the formation of an 18-member Advisory Committee for the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) tasked with discussing the outstanding issues related to the selection of a unified executive.  In a statement, UN Special Envoy Stephanie Williams said the UNSMIL expanded the membership of the Advisory Committee to 18 members “to ensure broad geographical and political diversity as well as the participation of women, youth, and cultural components” based on “the LPDF’s core principle of inclusivity”.  YENI SAFAK

The Central Bank of Libya on Sunday introduced a new unified exchange rate agreed last month after years of division between rival branches based on opposing sides of the front line.  As part of the change, the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli suspended a fee on foreign currency transactions that it introduced two years ago to bring the official rate closer to the black-market rate.  The Central Bank of Libya board agreed the new rate of 4.8 dinars to the United States dollar last month in its first full meeting for five years after splitting as the country divided between western and eastern factions.  REUTERS

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his counterpart in the Government of National Accord (GNA) Mohamed Siala discussed in Moscow on Wednesday the developments in Libya and the prospects of a political settlement.   Lavrov reiterated the need for Libyans to make a historic decision for national reconciliation and building their country, saying Russia is keen on helping Libya resolve its problems.  The Russian FM indicated that he and his Libyan counterpart also discussed the international community’s efforts in supporting Libyans. AAWSAT

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte held a telephone meeting with the United States president-elect Joe Biden to discuss developments in Libya and the importance of avoiding a military conflict in the region.   “During a long telephone conversation with Biden, I have reminded him of the importance of the Mediterranean region and the renewed interest in the Libyan issue,” Conte noted that Italy has been paying close attention to the ongoing Libyan crisis for years, explaining that they are working within the framework of the European Union and NATO to resolve the conflict.  LIBYAN EXPRESS

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune agreed to intensify joint coordination during the coming period between the two countries to restore security and stability to Libya.  This came in a phone call during which Sisi congratulated Tebboune on his recovery from the coronavirus, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said in a statement Thursday.  The two leaders further discussed several regional issues, namely the Libyan crisis.  The spokesman said that Sisi reviewed the ongoing efforts made by Egypt within the framework of the political track of the crisis in Libya.  AAWSAT


The National Centre for Disease Control announced 561 new cases of COVID-19 in Libya on Monday, bringing the overall number of infections to 101,975.