UN: 20,000 foreign fighters in Libya are a ‘serious crisis’

UN: 20,000 foreign fighters in Libya are a ‘serious crisis’
The top UN official for Libya said Wednesday there are at least 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in the war-torn nation. (File/AFP)
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Updated 02 December 2020

UN: 20,000 foreign fighters in Libya are a ‘serious crisis’

UN: 20,000 foreign fighters in Libya are a ‘serious crisis’
  • “That is a shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty,” the UN acting envoy for Libya said
  • Williams’ remarks reflect her exasperation over the lack of progress on the departure of foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya

CAIRO: The top UN official for Libya said Wednesday there are at least 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in the war-torn nation, and warned of a “serious crisis” as weapons continue pouring into the North African country.
“That is a shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty ... a blatant violation of the arms embargo,” UN acting envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams told an online meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.
The 75-member forum is trying to get Libya’s warring sides to agree on a mechanism that would establish a transitional administration to lead the country through presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2021.
The gathering is part of UN efforts to end the chaos that engulfed oil-rich Libya after the 2011 overthrow and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The country is now split east to west between two rival administrations, each backed by an array of militias and foreign powers. Military commander Khalifa Haftar rules the east and south, while a government based in the capital of Tripoli controls the west.
Williams’ remarks reflect her exasperation over the lack of progress on the departure of foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya, which was part of a cease-fire deal inked in October.
The cease-fire deal had set a three months’ deadline for foreign forces to leave Libya. Thousands — including Russians, Syrians, Sudanese and Chadians — have been brought to Libya by the rival sides, according to UN experts.
Williams also slammed unspecified foreign governments for “behaving with complete impunity” and deepening the Libyan conflict with mercenaries and weapons.
Tensions in Libya escalated further when Haftar’s forces last year launched an offensive to take Tripoli. Their campaign collapsed in June, when militias backing the government in Tripoli, with Turkish support, gained the upper hand, driving Haftar’s forces from the outskirts of the capital and several western Libyan towns.
Williams also warned about a looming “collapse of the electrical grid” in Libya because of corruption and mismanagement, adding that a $1 billion investment in the electrical infrastructure is immediately needed, given that only 13 of Libya’s 27 power plants are functioning.
She said 1.3 million of Libya’s more than 6.8 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance in January.


UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
Updated 19 January 2021

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
  • The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areasboth sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas

DUBAI: The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and ways of ensuring security and stability in the region with his Cypriot counterpart on Monday,.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan reviewed the prospects of advancing relations with Cyprus in a meeting in Abu Dhabi with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of enhancing international cooperation to ensure fair and equitable access to the vaccine for every country in the world.
Christodoulides praised the UAE’s significant overall efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic and the efficiency of its adopted measures in mitigating the economic and social effects of the crisis.
During his visit to the UAE, the Cypriot minister also met with the Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), Saqr Ghobash, accompanied with the Ambassador of Cyprus to the UAE, Yannis Michaelides.
During the meeting, both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas.
Ghobash said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on their parliamentary cooperation is required, in addition to reinforcing the role of joint parliamentary friendship committees.
A parliamentary friendship committee between the two countries will hold a meeting in the first quarter of 2021, Ghobash said, and stressed the importance of improving their coordination during global parliamentary events.
Christodoulides said that the UAE was a leading regional and international stature, noting that it is a strategic partner of his country.
He also conveyed the invitation of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus to Ghobash to visit Cyprus as head of a parliamentary delegation, to discuss ways of reinforcing their parliamentary ties.