Creating new perspectives since 2009

Arab League warns against deployment of foreign fighters in Libya

December 31, 2019 at 7:02 pm

Leaders pose for a family photo during emergency Arab League Summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on 31 May 2019 [Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Anadolu Agency]

The Arab League urged the warring sides in Libya on Tuesday not to do anything that might enable the deployment of foreign fighters in the North African country and worsen its conflict, reports Reuters.

The Arab League’s council, its top body, met in Cairo after Egypt called for an emergency meeting on Libya, where eastern-based forces led by military commander Khalifa Haftar are trying to seize the capital Tripoli.

Turkey has said it will seek parliamentary support for sending troops to Libya, and senior Turkish sources have said Ankara is also considering sending allied Syrian fighters as part of the deployment.

READ: Sisi and Putin agree on importance of resolving Libya crisis

Egypt is one of Haftar’s foremost foreign backers. Turkey supports the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.

A statement issued by the Arab League’s council warned of “the gravity of taking any unilateral steps … in a manner that allows foreign military interventions and contributes to the escalation and prolongation of the conflict”.

“Regional interventions that help among other things in facilitating the transfer of foreign extremist fighters from other regional conflict zones to Libya” should be prevented, it said.

READ: UN-recognised Libyan leader denies presence of Syrians

Egypt has been flexing its diplomatic muscles since Turkey signed two accords with the Tripoli government last month, one on security and military cooperation and the other on boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean.

Both sides in Libya have received foreign air support, mainly through drones, and Russian military contractors have been deployed on the front line to help Haftar’s forces in recent months, diplomats and analysts say.