Deadline ends for foreign forces’ departure from conflict-torn Libya

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Cairo (dpa) – A deadline for the departure of foreign forces from conflict-torn Libya ended on Saturday without any indication that troops were pulling out.

On October 23, Libya’s warring sides reached a country-wide permanent ceasefire agreement in Geneva.

The deal included a three-month deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moamer Gaddafi and has become a battleground for rival proxy forces that has drawn in foreign powers.

Turkey is the main backer of the UN-recognized Tripoli Government of National Accord (GNA) and has sent military personnel and equipment to support it against rival forces based in eastern Libya and led by Khalifa Haftar. 

Meanwhile, Haftar is backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

A UN mission and an international follow-up group underlined their support for the ceasefire deal on Saturday.

“The participants reiterated their full and continued commitment to the implementation of the 23 October 2020 ceasefire agreement as the deadline set draws near for the departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya,” the UN Support Mission in Libya said in a statement.

They called on Libyan leaders to accelerate the implementation of the ceasefire, including the “immediate repatriation of all foreign fighters and mercenaries.”

In recent months, there has been a flurry of international efforts to end Libya’s conflict.

On Saturday, delegates from the Tripoli government and the rival parliament based in eastern Libya said they reached an agreement on filling key state posts at talks in the Moroccan resort of Bouznika.

The posts include Libya’s central bank governor, the head of an anti-corruption watchdog and an election commission.

Earlier this week, the UN announced the start of candidate submissions for a unified transitional government in Libya to prepare for long-delayed elections that are scheduled for December.

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