All foreign forces, mercenaries must leave Libya: UN’s Guterres
…from PressTV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: We have all been here before, talk of peace in Libya, only to see domestic or outside actors, or both, scuttle the process. But we appear to be closer now than ever.
The unifying motivation for all would be to get the country moving toward having a normal economy for the benefit of all parties versus the mutual destruction they have engaged in.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Erdogan has tentatively agreed to a pullback of his troops as long as everyone else pulls out first. What’s not to love about this guy?
Of course even a mercenary pull back will leave behind the intelligence networks of all the various countries still wanting influence in Libya, something easily obtained if you have a presence there and are known to have a secure location filled with a mountain of $100 bills.
This is the curse of the Mideast, where anything can be agreed on and the next day competitors will start buying people off to subvert the agreement.
On the flip side there are incentives. A stable Libya would be able to control the African migration using it as a highway to get to Europe and its pot of gold welfare system, the equivalent of winning the lotto in Africa.
Gordon and I spent some time covering the Libyan war, including helping to arrange a safe exit for someone to avoid a fight to the death battle in Tripoli with its projected 100,000 casualties. He took a pass, and met an untimely end.
We had some wonderful sources on the ground, one group that was literally at the scene when Gaddafi was captured. They were ex-pats from the EU who simply got in their cars, drove to Cairo and flew home, not wanting anything to do with the infighting for control over the country that they knew would ensue.
They wanted no credit, nor really anyone knowing what they had done, as they said only bad things could accrue from it. Our first KIA source was Mo Habbous, one of the early Benghazi internet bloggers that continued to do his anti-Gaddafi broadcasts out in the street for the extra drama.
He was warned that he was just sniper bait and should never film his reports out in the open. A sniper shot him through the head a few days later. See him in our In Memoriam section toward the bottom of the page – https://www.veteranstoday.com/editorial-board/
There were many more before him, and many after… Jim W. Dean ]
First published … February 18, 2021
Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres has called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, which is moving toward the formation of a unity government ten years after its revolution.
Speaking with Libya’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on Tuesday, Guterres “stressed the UN’s support to Libya’s elections, the monitoring of the ceasefire and the need for withdrawal of foreign forces,” said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
“I have not gotten to hear any updates on foreign troops leaving. We want that to happen, obviously as soon as possible,” Dujarric added.
Libyan delegates at UN-facilitated talks in Switzerland on Friday selected an interim executive body to lead Libya until December 20201 elections.
Dbeibah, a businessman from the western city of Misrata, has been appointed as the oil-rich country’s new prime minister. They also elected a three-member presidential council at the end of five days of talks. Guterres also talked to the president-designate of the Presidency Council, Mohammad Younes Menfi.
Libya has been grappling with unchecked violence since the overthrow of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in an uprising in 2011. After 2014, two rival seats of power emerged in Libya, and government forces constantly fought rebel militia aiming to overtake territory.
Foreign countries also dispatched troops and mercenaries to the country. The UN said in December last year that there were about 20,000 foreign troops and mercenaries helping the opposing sides in Libya.
Under a UN-backed ceasefire signed in October last year, foreign troops and mercenaries were to pull out of Libya within three months.
Turkey, which backs the GNA, has a military base in al-Watiya on the border with Tunisia under a 2019 military accord. Ankara extended its authorization for its troop deployment in Libya by 18 months, in December.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, said last week that his country will discuss withdrawing its troops, if other foreign troops are withdrawn first. Erdogan said that Turkish forces were deployed in Libya solely to train units loyal to the GNA.
In a separate statement, Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday that Turkish troops will remain there as long as a bilateral military agreement between Ankara and Tripoli is active and Libya’s government requests it.
He also said that Ankara would provide support to the newly elected interim government of Libya.
Egypt plans to reopen Libya embassy
Meanwhile, Egypt has announced plans to reopen its embassy in Libya’s capital for the first time in six years.
The plan was discussed by an Egyptian delegation in Tripoli on Monday and Tuesday, in a second visit by an Egyptian delegation to Tripoli since 2014.
Cairo is one of the most prominent backers of rebel commander Khalifa Haftar. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France and also back Haftar forces.