US Deputy Political Coordinator, Scott Turner, said at a Security Council Arria-Formula meeting on Friday that they had seen the unfortunate consequences of the continued presence of foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya, adding that recent violent instability in Chad underscores the dangers foreign mercenaries pose not just to Libya but to the wider region.
Turner indicated that preventing greater instability in the Sahel is a critical priority, saying that the participants of the meeting have agreed on the need for a sustained approach for effective disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, and security sector reform, and we must follow through.
“Better governance that responds to the needs of the people in the Sahel is critical, as grievances by marginalized populations create an environment that foreign fighters can exploit. Military-focused responses can also be counterproductive if security forces don’t have the trust of the civilian population. This is especially the case where there are credible allegations of human rights violations and abuses.” Turner explained.
He said the US continues to be alarmed by rising violent extremism, terrorist attacks, and intercommunal violence across the Sahel, adding that amongst their many concerns is ensuring that the drawdown of foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya does not further destabilize other neighboring countries, particularly Chad and Sudan, where transitions are ongoing.
“In Sudan, Juba Peace Agreement signatories and all other Sudanese armed groups should withdraw any forces operating in Libya. We continue to urge all parties to fully comply with the JPA, and we hope that other members of this Council will continue to pressure non-signatory movements to join the peace process.” Turner further added.
He underlined that it is imperative that Libyan leaders take the necessary steps to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, 2021, as set out in the roadmap of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.
“It is important to note that anyone who obstructs or undermines the elections planned for in the LPDF roadmap may be subject to sanctions. We must again stress the importance of the full implementation of the October 23 Libyan ceasefire agreement. This Council has unanimously confirmed with Resolution 2570 that we support implementation of the ceasefire’s terms in their entirety – and that includes the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay.” Turner said.
The US Deputy Political Coordinator said next week’s Berlin II Conference presents another opportunity for many members of the Security Council, and of this meeting, to renew the commitments they made at the previous conference last year.
“The Berlin meeting presents a critical moment to underscore support for Libyan elections to be held in December, and to support Libyan calls for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries.” Turner concluded.