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UN envoy: Foreign mercenaries must leave Libya

The United Nations envoy to Libya and the Head of the its Support Mission (UNSMIL), Jan Kubis, said foreign mercenaries, including hundreds of Russians, should withdraw from Libya.

Speaking to The Times, Kubis said Libya had a Government of National Unity and its politicians and military commanders wanted the foreign fighters to leave.

The UN envoy reiterated that Libyans wanted all of the mercenaries to leave, saying that the longer foreign fighters and mercenaries are staying there, the more they are in a way solidifying the existing division in the country into the two camps.

“Without any question, without any deviation from this, Libyans are saying clearly: We don’t want to have foreign forces, foreign mercenaries, and foreign fighters on our soil.” Kubis told The Times.

Kubis reiterated that even the foreign elements that might have been valued in the past as helpers providing certain assistance to different Libyan factions and groups, they might find themselves in a very uncomfortable situation later on.

At least 2000 Russian Wagner Group mercenaries, backed by advanced fighter jets and surface-to-air missile defense systems, have been operating in the east and south, where Khalifa Haftar and his militias are in control.

The UN estimates that there are as many as 20000 foreign mercenaries in Libya and they have all emerged after the aggression on Tripoli led by Haftar’s militias.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Friday calling on the foreign fighters to withdraw and urged the Libyan House of Representatives to pass legislation needed to hold elections in December.

Kubis explained that the overall momentous in Libya drives for elections and all Libyans are eager to hold such a democratic process, adding that such a drive would create and give a push to the withdrawal of foreign elements from the war-torn country.

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