EU Calls on Turkey to Withdraw Mercenaries from Libya

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On Tuesday, President of the European Council; Charles Michel called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to remove all Turkish-backed foreign fighters from Libya.

In a joint press conference with the Turkish President, Michel said, “the de-escalation should be strengthened on the exit of foreign forces from Libya.”

Today’s visit to Turkey is an attempt to push for a new start in relations between Ankara and Brussels, after months of heightened tension. Turkey has promised to work on a “positive program”, with Michel confirming that “they discussed giving relations with Turkey a new impetus.” He stressed that “Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Treaty for the Protection of Women is a cause for concern.” Michel also conveyed to Erdogan their concern about the human rights situation in Turkey.

Libya’s new Government of National Unity (GNU) is expected to bring together rival forces, until general elections set for 24 December, 2021.

Some 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters remained in Libya in early December, according to the United Nations. A January deadline for their withdrawal passed without any sign of them leaving.

Calls for them to depart have grown in recent weeks, and Michel urged “all mercenaries and foreign soldiers to quickly leave.”