US Assistant Secretary of State stresses to Libyan officials the need for mercenaries to leave

The Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, said she had underscored with all of the officials she met in Libya the support of the US for the UN envoy to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily’s efforts to build consensus leading to presidential and parliamentary elections later this year in keeping with the aspirations of the Libyan people.

Leaf added in her briefing to the press on Thursday that this effort won the unanimous endorsement of UN security council, as Libyans repeatedly made it clear that they wanted to vote for a government that would be unified and provide them with the services, security, and stability that they had lacked and that they well deserved.

“I also stressed importance of upholding holding Libya’s sovereignty, and respecting Libya’s own ceasefire agreement by ensuring all foreign fighters, forces, and mercenaries leave the country, above all Wagner fighters; as well as US support for Libya’s economic institutions to strengthen transparency.” Leaf added.

Answering a question on the possibilities of having an election this year in Libya according to the UN envoy’s suggestion, Leaf said the prospects of elections reside firmly in the hands of Libya leaders.

“We’ve already seen two years ago, with the unprecedented numbers of millions of Libyans registering to vote, that there’s a deep appetite, actually a demand signal for elections; and beyond that a demand signal for a unified government that they have not enjoyed for twelve years. So the requirement is there. What I conveyed to all of the leaders that I met with, was that Bathily is lunching a process to mediate, to get over some of the seismic issues which have prevented them from holding such elections previously. But it comes down to a matter of political will and the ability to compromise.” Leaf remarked.

She added that nothing prevents Libya from holding elections this year, except for lack of political will and/or unwillingness to compromise among key leaders, saying that they are technically in the space of being able to hold such elections.

“So what we have got to really move towards is getting these key leaders in the place of exercise and compromise and getting behind Bathily’s efforts.” Leaf explained.


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