Progress in Libya 'stalled', says UN

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: May 22, 2021, 02:08 AM IST

The emblem of the United Nations. Photograph:(AFP)

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According to the UN, more than 20,000 foreign mercenaries and military personnel are still in Libya

United Nations envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis on Friday told Security Council that progress on issues such as the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and reopening the road connecting the country's east with its west had "stalled". Kubis was speaking to the Council via video. He warned that the delays could undermine a ceasefire agreement between the country's warring sides. 

"Progress on key issues such as the reopening of the coastal road between Sirte and Misrata and the start of the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries, fighters and foreign forces has stalled," he said.

"Further delays in reopening the road work against efforts to build trust between the two sides and could undermine efforts to advance the implementation of the ceasefire agreement, to advance the political transition," he said.

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield also criticized the lack of political progress. 

"It's time for the Libyan leadership to clarify the constitutional basis for the election (planned for December 24), pass the required legislation and ensure elections are not delayed," she said, calling for progress before July 1.

Kubis also said the continued presence of foreign fighters and armed groups "is a significant threat not just to Libya security, but to the region as a whole."

He said it was "critical" to ensure "an orderly departure" and disarm them. 

Thomas-Greenfield agreed, saying that "external actors involved in the conflict must cease their military interference and begin to withdraw from Libya immediately."

"There is no room for interpretation here. All means all," she continued. 

According to the UN, more than 20,000 foreign mercenaries and military personnel are still in Libya. They include Turkish, Russian, Sudanese and Chadian mercenaries.

Unlike the Russian mercenaries who supported the authorities in the east of the country, Turkey says its troops sent to Tripoli were sent under a bilateral agreement with the government, implying that they are not affected by a request for foreign troops to leave. 

The fear that armed groups will leave Libya to deploy in the region was again raised by several Security Council members, who recalled the recent destabilization in Chad that led to the death of its president Idriss Deby. 

(With inputs from agencies)