Foreign forces refuse to leave, could derail the political process entirely

Departure date for mercenaries in Libya passes as United Nations calls for their departure continue

Foreign forces in Libya were given 90 days to depart the country, no movements have been made on their end to meet the deadline. [Photo: Internet]
As of last Saturday, the deadline for foreign mercenaries and troops to depart Libyan soil passed with no action taken on the ground by fighters to vacate the country.

The presence of foreign fighters in Libya continues to pose a serious threat to the ongoing political process in the north African country and as of Saturday violates the terms of the ceasefire agreement signed in Geneva last October.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in a statement called on Libyan political leaders to accelerate the implementation of the ceasefire, prioritising the opening of the Coastal Road between Abu Grein and Sirte, as well as the immediate repatriation of all foreign fighters and mercenaries.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week urged all “regional and international actors to respect the provisions” of the Oct. 23 cease-fire accord that set out a withdrawal within three months of all foreign troops and mercenaries.

United Nations Special Representative Stephanie Williams in a recent statement emphasised the importance of respecting the ceasefire agreement and stressed the danger foreign military forces pose to the Libyan sovereignty.

She also said that there now more than 10 military bases in the country which are almost entirely run by foreign forces and estimating that there 20,000 foreign mercenary forces in Libya.

Satellite images broadcast by CNN show a trench running tens of kilometres dug by “Russian mercenaries” near the frontline coastal city of Sirte, as main foreign protagonists Ankara and Moscow appear intent on defending their interests under any final settlement.

An unidentified US intelligence official, quoted by the American news network, said there was “no intent or movement by either Turkish or Russian forces to abide by the UN-brokered agreement.”

Another violent collision in Libya could completely derail all efforts of an already fragile peace process and render the ceasefire agreement completely void, sending the country back into a state of chaos.

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