The United Nations (UN) has welcomed the signing of a long-awaited Action Plan to withdraw mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces from Libya, after years of fighting between warring factions across the oil-rich nation.
Special Envoy and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ján Kubiŝ described the signing as “another breakthrough achievement by the 5+5 JMC”.
“I am honoured to witness this historic moment at this critical juncture in Libya’s path towards peace and democracy,” he said.
It is designed as the cornerstone for the gradual, balanced, and sequenced process of the withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces from Libyan territory.
Since the 2011 fall of former ruler Muammar Gadaffi, Libya has descended into crises on multiple fronts.
Until recently, the country had essentially been divided between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli, and a rival administration, led by General Haftar, who commands the western-based self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).
Mercenaries and other fighters from outside Libya have reportedly been operating inside the country for years, including some previously involved in the Syria conflict, and mercenaries allegedly contracted by the Russia-based Wagner group, according to a UN report released on Monday.
In line with last year’s Ceasefire Agreement, UN Security Council resolutions, and outcomes of the Berlin Conference, the Action Plan is a nationally owned and led instrument, said a statement released by the UN in Geneva.
The UN described it as being “key to support the Libyans in regaining their sovereignty and integrity, maintain the peace, stability and security of their country.”