Libya’s JMC to Discuss Mercenary Withdrawal in Turkey

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Libya’s 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) is set to travel to Turkey to discuss the withdrawal of mercenaries from Libya, said Major General Khaled Al-Mahjoub, the Director of the Moral Guidance Department of the Libyan National Army (LNA).

He told Sky News Arabia that the Muslim Brotherhood and some countries that benefit from the status quo do not want the mercenaries to leave; “because these groups will be a burden on those countries if they return, especially Turkey, which used them as a card to play between Russia and America.”

However, he pointed out that there is a, “positive response from countries to withdraw mercenaries from Libya, provided that there is a consensual solution.”

“The mercenaries are a thorny issue, some of them were sent by countries that intervened in the civil war after 2011, and others, such as the Chadians, entered Libya as rebels to their country’s government during the Gaddafi era. After the events of 2011 they (Chadians) were exploited as mercenaries, and took part in the conflict,” he added.

Al-Mahjoub stressed that the presence of mercenaries in Libya threatens the region, especially in light of their close proximity to the Libyan borders, “when the problem of these groups with their governments is resolved and their return is accepted to their homelands, this will benefit neighbouring countries,” he explained.

On Monday, the JMC announced that it had reached an agreement with Sudan, Chad and Niger to withdraw their mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libyan territory. This came during the meeting held between the JMC and representatives of these countries in Cairo, on Monday.

The meeting was attended by the Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Jan Kubis. Talks focused on the mechanism and ways to permanently remove African mercenaries from Libyan territory.

On 8 October, the JMC signed a comprehensive Action Plan for the gradual, balanced, and sequenced withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters, and foreign forces from the country.