Arab League, UN, EU and AU demand foreign forces leave Libya

File photo. Children holding Libyan flags a day ahead of commemorations of the 10th anniversary of the uprising against former leader Muammar Gaddafi, in Tripoli, Libya, 16 February 2021. [Stringer/EPA/EFE]

The Arab League, United Nations, European Union and the African Union on Tuesday (20 April) demanded an immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from Libya.

In a statement after a videoconference by its leaders, the so-called “Libya Quartet” demanded “full compliance with the arms embargo and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from the entirety of Libya’s territory.”

The much-violated arms embargo has been in place since 2011, when an uprising toppled longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi during the regional upheaval known as the Arab Spring.

The UN estimates that some 20,000 foreign fighters, mainly troops from Turkey and mercenaries from Russia, Syria, Chad and Sudan, are currently deployed in the country.

In recent weeks, the possible departure of Syrian mercenaries has been raised and, this weekend, N’Djamena mentioned the arrival in Chad from Libya of several hundred Chadian mercenaries who may have contributed to the fighting that led to the death of President Idriss Deby.

Veteran Chad leader Deby dies, the military take over

Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno has died reportedly in combat just a day after securing re-election, opening a period of uncertainty in a country that is a key strategic ally of the West in a troubled region.

During its meeting, the Libya Quartet “condemned the continued violations of the UN arms embargo and emphasized that all external military intervention in Libya is unacceptable.”

It also called for “the sustained implementation of measures to fully identify and dismantle these groups.”

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