Bathily Visits Countries South of Libya to Discuss Withdrawal of Mercenaries


The UN Envoy to Libya and the Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Abdoulaye Bathily began an official visit to Libya’s southern neighbours.

In a tweet, Bathily said that his tour to Sudan, Chad, and Niger, is “part of the UNSMIL’s mandate to restore peace and stability in Libya, including through supporting the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) in the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.” This is notably the withdrawal of all foreign fighters, foreign forces, and mercenaries from Libya.

He added that the foreign presence in Libya “poses an critical risk to peace and stability in the country and the region. We need to work with our partners to address this challenge without negatively impacting Libya’s neighbouring countries.”

Bathily was received by the President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of Sudan, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who expressed support for UNSMIL’s efforts. He stressed that achieving peace and stability in Libya will contribute to the stability of the region.

“I briefed the President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of Sudan on UNSMIL’s efforts to restore stability and peace in Libya, including through the return of foreign fighters, foreign forces, and mercenaries in coordination with their countries of origin.”

On Wednesday, the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU), headed by Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba, and its rival Government of National Stability (GNS), headed by Prime Minister-designate, Fathi Bashagha agreed to attend a mediation meeting hosted by the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue.

A well-informed source at the Center, which is a private diplomatic organization based in Geneva, said that they are planning an “informal consultative meeting between the rival parties, who have already approved the talks, which will also be attended by all Libyan institutions.”

The source – who spoke on condition of anonymity – told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting “will be held in response to a request from several Libyan parties, and regional and international countries.”

He also stressed that UNSMIL “has nothing to do with this meeting, but it is of course invited to attend as a party to the Libyan crisis.”

The source explained that the meeting “aims to reach a consensus among all Libyan institutions regarding a new initiative announced by Bathily, during his latest briefing to the UN Security Council.”

They noted that the meeting is scheduled to be held on 5 April in Geneva, Switzerland. It will be attended by the main Libyan stakeholders and representatives of the international community, with the aim of “developing practical recommendations that support holding constructive elections, before the end of this year.”