Some foreign fighters have left Libya as the government tries to gather international aid to withdraw more of those left in the country, Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said on Sunday.
“The reports are correct. There is a very modest start,” Mangoush told a news conference in Kuwait when asked if any foreign fighters had been removed.
“We are still looking for a larger and more comprehensive organization for the exit of mercenaries,” she said.
Libya’s warring factions, backed by regional powers, remain anchored with Allied foreign mercenaries along the front lines in the face of a ceasefire.
Every more significant withdrawal of foreign mercenaries has emerged far away among arguments about the role of regional forces allied to each side and stumbles in efforts to agree on basic rules for a national election.
There has been little peace or security in Libya since the 2011 NATO – backed uprising that ousted Moammar Gadhafi. The country was divided between the warring eastern and western factions in 2014.
The eastern forces were supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia and Egypt. The previous government in Tripoli, in the west, which was recognized by the UN, was supported by Turkey.
The warring factions brought in mercenaries, including through Russia’s Wagner group, from Syria, Sudan and Chad, among others, the UN has said.
Last year, after Putist general Khalifa Haftar’s eastern militia was driven back from its 14-month attack on the Tripoli-based internationally recognized National Accord Government (GNA), the two sides agreed on a ceasefire and accepted the installation of a new unity government in Tripoli. .
The armistice agreement required that all foreign mercenaries be withdrawn within three months of being signed a year ago.
The head of Libya’s Presidency Council said last month that it would attend a conference to ensure “unified, consistent” international support and restore a sense of Libyan leadership and ownership of the country’s future.
But Libyan President-in-Office Mohammad Younes Menfi also warned of “serious challenges” that could undermine national elections scheduled for December 24.
Foreign mercenaries and weapons have flowed into the country since Haftar launched its offensive, with Russia and the United Arab Emirates acting as the putschist general’s best suppliers. According to the UN, there are currently 20,000 foreign forces and / or mercenaries left in Libya.
The Russian Wagner group, owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a figure close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is known as one of the main groups sending mercenaries to fight in Libya.
Most of the foreign forces are concentrated around Sirte at Jufra Air Force Base held by Haftar’s forces 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Tripoli and further west in al-Watiya.
In June, the US African Command (AFRICOM) revealed that 2,000 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group had worked with Haftar forces.
A UN report on Sudan released in January 2020 also said that many Arabs from the war-weary region of Darfur were fighting as “individual mercenaries” along with warring Libyan parties.