Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN: Libya parties agree to framework for withdrawal of foreign forces 

February 8, 2023 at 2:17 pm

UN diplomat, Abdoulaye Bathily in Dakar [Seyllou/AFP via Getty Images]

Libya’s 5+5 military committee of officers from both main sides of the civil war has agreed on a coordination mechanism for the withdrawal of foreign forces in liaison with neighbouring Sudan and Niger, the United Nations said today.

The procedural step would allow for joint coordination and data exchange to facilitate the full withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya, the UN Libya envoy Abdoulaye Bathily announced after a meeting in Egypt, according to Reuters.

However, any more concrete moves to pull out the hundreds of foreign fighters believed to be present in Libya after joining different sides in the conflict still face major political obstacles.

Although there has been little open warfare in Libya for nearly three years, the political standoff over control of government and access to state resources persists, with many Libyans fearing a return to conflict.

READ: Bathily calls on neighbouring countries to help withdraw foreign fighters

The main eastern and western factions fighting from 2014-20 deployed fighters from African countries, Syria, and from the private Russian company Wagner, according to UN experts’ reports. Turkiye also deployed forces in Libya at the invitation of the then internationally recognised government.

According to the terms of the 2020 ceasefire agreement that led to the formation of the 5+5 committee, all foreign forces were meant to be withdrawn within months, but very few are believed to have left.