Outside interference in Libya must end, says U.N. chief

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Robert Besser

  • U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has requested that all foreign fighters leave Libya.
  • Guterres said that foreign fighters operate throughout Libya in violation of last October’s cease-fire agreement.
  • Guterres also said countries supplying arms are violating the U.N. arms embargo.

UNITED NATIONS, New York: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has requested that countries withdraw all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya.

Guterres said that foreign fighters are operating throughout Libya in violation of last October’s cease-fire agreement “with no discernible abatement of their activities.”

Guterres also said countries supplying arms and military equipment to the foreign fighters are violating the U.N. arms embargo.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council issued on Friday, Guterres called for carrying out “a comprehensive plan for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all mercenaries and foreign forces from Libya, with clear timelines.”

He also urged Libyan parties “to exert every effort to ensure” that parliamentary and presidential elections are held on December 24, as called for in agreements that ended hostilities last year.

However, Libya remains in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The country was later left split between a U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and troops loyal to commander Khalifa Hifter in the east.

Each has been supported by various armed groups and foreign governments.

Libya remains dangerous as Hifter sought to capture the capital, in a campaign backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and France.

However, his drive on Tripoli failed in June 2020 after Turkey sent troops to support the government.

While U.N.-sponsored peace talks resulted in a cease-fire last October, it is not known whether December elections will be held.

Guterres has urged all parties to resolve longstanding issues and endorse the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws.

“The political process is now reaching a critical stage and the gains achieved in early 2021 are under threat,” Guterres warned. “It is imperative that the political process fulfills the aspirations of the Libyan people for representative governance brought about through democratic elections.”

The U.N. chief also warned that the presence and activities of violent extremist organizations, including affiliates of al-Qaida and the Islamic State “were reported in all regions, including in the form of direct threats against civilians and United Nations personnel and attacks against security forces.” Zimbabwe Star

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