Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on Tuesday said the Turkish-Libyan shipping agreement in the eastern Mediterranean was in the country’s interest, as he called on all mercenaries to leave the country.
The statement came in response to a question about the agreement at a parliamentary meeting in Sirte for a vote of confidence in the new interim government led by Dbeibah.
“The Libyan-Turkish agreement in the eastern Mediterranean is in the interest of the Libyan state,” Dbeibah said, adding: “Libya has been given a fair share of its right to [natural] gas ”under the agreement.
On November 27, 2019, the internationally recognized Libyan government signed a security cooperation agreement and the demarcation of a maritime border with Turkey.
He also demanded the resignation of an estimated 20,000 foreign fighters as he sought the support of lawmakers to help end a grinding civil war in the North African nation.
“The mercenaries are a sting in our backs – they have to go,” Dbeibah told parliament, saying he would contact the UN and the countries where the mercenaries come from to demand their withdrawal.
“Our sovereignty is violated by their presence,” Dbeibah added, speaking in the central coastal city of Sirte.
Foreign mercenaries and weapons have flowed into the country since Haftar began its offensive, with Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) serving as the putschist general’s best suppliers. According to the UN, there are currently 20,000 foreign forces and / or mercenaries left in Libya.
The Russian Wagner group, owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a person close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is known as one of the main groups that sent mercenaries to fight in Libya.
Most foreign forces are concentrated around Sirte at the Jufra air base held by Haftar’s forces 500 kilometers south of Tripoli and further west in Al-Watiya.
In June, the US African Command (AFRICOM) revealed that 2,000 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group had worked with Haftar forces.
A UN report on Sudan, released in January 2020, also said that many Arabs from the war-torn region of Darfur fought as “individual mercenaries” along with warring Libyan parties.
Meanwhile, Parliament postponed confidence in a new interim government until Wednesday.
“Parliament decided to suspend [postpone] the session until tomorrow, Wednesday, “Muhammad Al-Raeed, a member of the Misrata House of Representatives, told Anadolu Agency.
Al-Raeed said: “Tomorrow’s session will be in the confidence of the government.”
He commented on the possibility of giving the government confidence or not and added: “On Wednesday, God willing, we will definitely give it confidence.”
Dbeibah also presented his ministerial plan to parliament.
On Monday, the house in the coastal town of Sirte met for a vote of confidence in the new interim government.
The session began in the presence of 132 of the 200 alternates chaired by Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh.
On Saturday, Dbeibah proposed a unity government with 27 members and promised that the government will prioritize “improving services, uniting government institutions and ending the transition period through elections.”
On February 5, Libya’s rival political groups in UN-mediated talks agreed to form a temporary unity government to lead the country to elections in December, where Dbeibah was appointed prime minister and to form a new government.
Libyans hope that this will end years of civil war that have engulfed the country since the challenge and killing of strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
The war worsened when warlord Khalifa Haftar, with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France, among others, carried out a military attack to overthrow the Tripoli-based internationally recognized government for control of the North African country.