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UN: mercenaries must leave Libya to facilitate peace, elections

Jelena Aparac, head of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries [Twitter]
Jelena Aparac, head of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries [Twitter]

UN experts on Friday called on all private military contractors and mercenaries to leave Libya immediately, saying their departure is "overdue" and a "vital precondition" for the peaceful elections planned for this year, reports Anadolu Agency.

Jelena Aparac, head of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, and four group members, Lilian Bobea, Chris Kwaja, Ravindran Daniel, and Sorcha MacLeod, said that the mercenaries could also affect the security and stability of other countries in the region.

"Nine months after the cease-fire agreement calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, mercenaries and private military and security contractors continue to operate in the country," said Aparac.

Their continued recruitment and presence in Libya impede progress in the peace process and constitute an obstacle for the upcoming elections.

The experts cited "well-trained and well-armed private contractors" from Russia, Syria, Sudan, and Chad operating in Libya, some of whom meet the criteria for mercenaries.

READ: Libya headed back to 'square one' of post-Gaddafi turmoil if polls delayed

They could also negatively affect the security and stability of other countries in the region, the experts warned.

These mercenary and mercenary-related actors, the experts said, must leave immediately, and there must be an immediate end to the transfer of military weapons and equipment into Libya.

"We appeal to the international community to take concrete steps to aid this process," Aparac said.

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AfricaChadEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsLibyaMiddle EastNewsRussiaSudanSyriaUN
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