A UN official has called on all parties in Libya to follow a ceasefire agreement signed last year for fear of a resurgence of violence after Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha escaped an assassination attempt, according to a statement issued by the UN on Monday. Support mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
Jan Kubis, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Libya and head of UNSMIL, held talks with the parties for a week and advised them to implement UN resolutions, including the expulsion of foreign powers and mercenaries.
The deadline for the alien of foreign mercenaries from Libya during the ceasefire in October passed last month, but talks to speed up the process continue as no movement has been announced or observed on the ground. At the end of January, the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres once again called on thousands of foreign fighters and mercenaries to leave Libya immediately after the deadline for their departure was ignored.
Foreign mercenaries and weapons have flowed into the country since Eastern Putz general Khalifa Haftar launched his offensive, in which Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) acted as the putschist’s best suppliers, against the legitimate UN-recognized government for the National Accord (GNA) and its capital Tripoli 2019. 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. In June, the US African Command (AFRICOM) revealed that 2,000 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group had worked with Haftar forces.
The statement also stressed that Kubis will continue to support efforts to reach the constitutional agreement needed to hold elections in December 2021.
Delegations from Libya’s warring parties signed a permanent ceasefire agreement in October in Geneva for a ceasefire with immediate effect in all parts of the country.
During his visit to Libya, Kubis met with the President of the Tobruk House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, on 17 February and the leader of the illegal armed forces in the east, Haftar, on 19 February.
In his statement last Saturday, Kubis said he would continue to support Mohammad Younes Menfi, who was elected president of Libya’s caretaker government, and Abdul Hamid Dbeibah as prime minister.
Dbeibah, who will serve as prime minister until the presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, is expected to form his cabinet by February 26 and present it to the House of Representatives to gain confidence.
In the middle of the ongoing normalization period in the war-torn country, Interior Minister Bashagha survived an assassination attempt on Sunday when his convoy was fired with machine guns from a pickup truck while on his way to his home in Janzur, west of the capital. Tripoli.
Bashagha said on Monday that he had escaped a “well-planned” assassination attempt and said: “It was not an incident that came by chance, but was well-planned.”
Describing the scene, he said that when his convoy reached Janzur, an armed vehicle began approaching it and people inside the vehicle opened fire.
He said one of the attackers was killed and two others were injured but did not give further details.
Geopolitical threat of rivalry
Even after a decade of popular uprising, Libya continues to remain in chaos. An expert in the region called for the allocation of social space to the traumatized country to bring together divided institutions. But the expert also lamented that geopolitical rivalries have brought new obstacles to resolving the conflict.
Libya marked the 10th anniversary of the 2011 revolution on February 17, which inspired the success of the Arab Spring to end the 42 years of Moammar Gadhafi’s rule. But shortly after the revolution, the country collapsed into a political stalemate.
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA), Nebahat Tanrıverdi Yaşar, an expert on North African political issues, said that Libya was still struggling to shape post-conflict reconstruction, in the wake of the social and economic devastation caused by the civil war.
“Shortly after 2011, Gaddafi’s legacy was some of the challenges of reconstruction, such as the need to build institutions that were never under his control. Some were acts of international military intervention, and finally not to mention the destruction of the civil war,” said Yaşar.
She said that foreign interventions without strong plans for conflict resolution only strengthened the drive towards fragmentation.
“With its deeply fragmented and traumatized post-World War II civil war structure, Libya needs social peace to unite its fragmented institutions and decide how to shape its future. However, geopolitical rivalry has set new barriers to resolving the conflict ashore.” she added.