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Libya: UN backs ceasefire mechanism, urges foreign forces withdraw

Libya: UN backs ceasefire mechanism, urges foreign forces withdraw
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Libyans are flooding the markets In the city of Benghazi on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

But Libyans may also have another reason to celebrate after the UN Security Council on Friday unanimously passed a resolution that calls for all foreign forces and mercenaries to leave Libya.

It also backed a ceasefire monitoring component to monitor last October’s historic ceasefire agreement.

This unit is separate from the UN ceasefire monitoring mechanism.

Ambassadors also passed a resolution renewing measures relating to the illicit export of petroleum,

It comes as a unity government was approved in March to lead the war-ravaged North African nation to December elections.

Oil-rich Libya descended into conflict after dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, resulting in multiple forces vying for power.

On the security front, the resolution stresses "the need to provide for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (into society) of armed groups and all non-state armed actors, security sector reform and the creation of an inclusive and accountable defense architecture for Libya.

**Mercenaries scattered across the Sahel **

The text "calls on all Libyan parties to fully implement the October 23, 2020 ceasefire and strongly urges all member states to respect it, including with the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.

The figure of 60 UN observers falls far short of what the West originally wanted, which called for "a robust mechanism". However, the UN has run into opposition from Libyans for a strong foreign presence on their soil to supervise the ceasefire, which they want to keep under control.

The presence in Libya of Turkish foreign troops and Russian, Syrian, Chadian and Sudanese mercenaries "is a big concern," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday. But, he said, the mission of unarmed UN civilian observers "will be focused on the ceasefire.

According to several diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity, the non-departure of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya, although demanded by the Libyan parties themselves since October, is problematic in view of the elections. 

Countries in the region, including Niger, are also worried about mercenaries being scattered across the Sahel to fuel the violence that is difficult to control.

"The Russian-affiliated groups and Russia say 'we can't leave until the Turks leave. And the Turks say 'we are here on a legal basis, we were invited unlike the Russians'" by the previous UN-recognized government in Tripoli, a diplomat said.