Libya leader hopeful foreign mercenaries will leave soon

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Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah said he was hopeful that all foreign military forces and mercenaries will leave the war-torn country soon.

“Following discussions with several countries, there were hopeful signs that foreign groups would leave Libya,” Dbeibah told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

The opposing sides in Libya, the internationally recognised, Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, are receiving help from an estimated 20,000 foreign troops and mercenaries.

A ceasefire agreement signed between the GNA and LNA in October foresees a permanent end to the fighting that began after Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising. It requires the withdrawal of all military personnel, foreign mercenaries and armed proxies that were recruited, financed, deployed, and supported in Libya.

On Monday, Najla al-Manqoush, foreign minister of Libya’s interim government, called on the Turkish government to withdraw foreign mercenaries from the country ahead of December elections.

“We call on Turkey to cooperate with us to end the presence of all foreign forces and mercenaries in Libya,” al-Manqoush said at a press conference alongside her Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Tripoli.

The Government of National Unity of Libya (GNU), which has replaced the GNA, will run the country until elections are held.

The vote will be held as scheduled, Dbeibah said.

“We want the constitution, the elections, and the end of the transitional phase,” he said.

The unity government is committed to a maritime agreement signed with Turkey in 2019, Dbeibah said.

The agreement has been heavily criticised by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt.

“We disagree with Greece in its evaluation of the Libyan-Turkish maritime agreement. It serves Libyans and wel will not give up on it,” he said.

Ahval

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