United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated that all countries should withdraw their foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya, saying they continue to operate throughout the North African country in violation of last October’s cease-fire agreement “with no discernible abatement of their activities.”
Since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya has been stricken by chaos that split the country between a U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities loyal to commander Khalifa Hifter in the east. Each has been backed by different armed groups and foreign governments.
The implementation of “a comprehensive plan for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all mercenaries and foreign forces from Libya, with clear timelines is required said Guterres in a report to the UN Security Council circulated Friday.
The U.N. chief also urged countries supplying arms and military equipment to the foreign fighters to stop violating the UN arms embargo, saying, the movement of aircraft providing logistical support “also continued unabated” at airbases in central Libya in the strategic city of Sirte and nearby Jufra area.
He also urged Libyan parties “to exert every effort to ensure” that parliamentary and presidential elections are held on December 24 in accordance with the political road map that ended hostilities last year.
The UN chief urged the parties and institutions to clarify the constitutional basis for elections and to 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.”