The deadline for the alien of foreign mercenaries from Libya during a ceasefire in October passed from Saturday, but calls to speed up the process continue as no movement has been announced or observed on the ground.
According to an agreement reached on October 23, Libya’s rival sides – namely the UN-recognized Government for National Agreement (GNA) in the Libyan capital Tripoli and the East-based Putschist Gen. three-month deadline for withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and an international follow-up group emphasized their support for the ceasefire agreement on Saturday.
“The participants reiterated their full and continued commitment to the implementation of the October 23, 2020 ceasefire agreement as the deadline for the departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya approaches,” the mission said in a statement.
They called on Libyan leaders to speed up the implementation of the ceasefire, including “the immediate repatriation of all foreign fighters and mercenaries.”
The co-chairs of the International Monitoring Committee on Libya’s Security Working Group (SWG), represented by the African Union, France, Italy, Turkey, the United Kingdom and UNSMIL, met on 20 January with the Joint Military Commission 5 + 5 (JMC).
The co-chairmen called on Libyan parties to “take all necessary measures to speed up the implementation of the ceasefire and prioritize the opening of the coastal road between Abu Grein and Sirte, as well as the immediate repatriation of all foreign fighters and mercenaries.”
They also reiterated their commitment to facilitate the work of the 5 + 5 JMC through enhanced cooperation and their continued support for the political process.
On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all “regional and international actors to respect the rules” of the October 23 ceasefire agreement.
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 of the 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-weary region of Darfur were fighting as “individual mercenaries” along with warring Libyan parties.
As early as July 2020, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pointed to foreign mercenaries as the root of the problems in Libya.
In recent months, there has been a flood of international efforts to stop Libya’s almost decade-long conflict.
On Saturday, delegates from GNA and the rival parliament in eastern Libya said they had reached an agreement to fill key government positions, including Libya’s central bank governor, the head of a corruption watchdog and an election commission, during talks in the Moroccan resort. from Bouznika until 2 February.
Rival parties also agreed to form working groups for the candidacy process for the posts, which have long been contentious, the statement added.
When the candidates are ready, they will be presented to representatives of both sides.
In separate talks earlier this week, Libyan envoys at UN-led talks in Egypt agreed to hold a constitutional referendum ahead of the planned elections later this year. A new round of talks will be held in Egypt next month, where the “road map for the referendum and elections” will be taken.
On Friday, Turkey welcomed the agreement reached by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which chose the mechanism for the new executive that will remain until its election, as well as the announcement of the timetable for the rapid completion of the process.
“Turkey, which attaches great importance to Libya’s sovereignty, integrity and political unity, soon wants a new single executive to be elected. The rapid formation of a single executive is of great importance not only for the preparations for the planned general elections. “December 24, 2021 but also to meet the urgent need of the friendly and fraternal Libyan people in the face of the deteriorating humanitarian situation caused by the aggression against Tripoli that began in April 2019 and the subsequent oil blockade,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. It highlighted the leading role that Turkey played in the Berlin Conference through its constructive contributions, adding that its implementation of the conference’s conclusions helped to ensure a ceasefire, balance the situation on the ground and enable the resumption of the political process.
The oil-rich Libya was thrown into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 overthrew and killed the longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi and divided the country between GNA and Haftar’s forces.
In the Libyan conflict, Russia, together with France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has supported Haftar against the legitimate Libyan government, with the support of Turkey and Qatar.