The U.S. has called for the urgent removal of Russian and Turkish forces from Libya despite missing the deadline for them to leave.
Under a UN-backed truce negotiated last October, foreign soldiers and mercenaries were expected to withdraw from Libya within three months.
On Saturday, the deadline passed with no activity announced or noticed on the field.
We call on all foreign parties, including Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, to honor Libya’s sovereignty and to immediately halt all military activity in Libya,” US Acting Ambassador Richard Mills said Thursday during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Libya, which has been fighting for a decade since the overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.”
“Per the October ceasefire agreement, we call on Turkey and Russia to immediately initiate the withdrawal of their forces from the country and the removal of the foreign mercenaries and military proxies that they have recruited, financed, deployed and supported in Libya,” said Mills.
The statement comes a year after a Berlin summit brought together backers of the main warring factions in Libya, with world leaders pledging to end foreign interference and work towards a permanent ceasefire.
Diplomatic Editor James Bays of Al Jazeera announced from the UN that recent events are expected to “concentrate minds in Turkey and the UAE on how they will deal with the new Biden administration.”
He emphasized that a weapons purchase arrangement negotiated by the Trump administration to deliver 50 F-35 fighter jets to the UAEE was retained by the White House.
About 20,000 foreign soldiers and mercenaries are claimed by the UN to back the opposing sides in Libya: the UN-recognized National Accord Government (GNA) in Tripoli and renegade military leader Khalifa Haftar in the east.
The GNA backs Turkey. It also has a military base on the border with Tunisia in Al-Watiya under a 2019 military deal.
Last December, Ankara extended its authorisation for the deployment of Turkey’s forces in Libya by 18 months, in obvious violation of the ceasefire agreement.
Haftar is sponsored by the United Arab Emirates, France, Egypt and Russia.