The Libyan Prime Minister visits Moscow, while the UN Security Council calls for the withdrawal of mercenaries from Libya

Abdul_Hamid_Dbeibah

The interim prime minister of the Libyan national unity government, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, traveled to Russia on April 15, where he held meetings with various Russian political figures. Among the topics discussed, the presence in Libya of the Russian mercenaries of the Wagner company.

Dbeibah’s visit to Russia comes at a time when Libya is experiencing a transition phase, which is expected to culminate in the legislative and presidential elections on December 24, 2021. Following the formation of the new unitary executive, the premier engaged in the reunification process of state institutions, previously divided between the Libyan East and West.

In this regard, during a joint press conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergej Lavrov, Dbeibah said that 80% of Libyan state institutions appear to have been unified. What has been left pending, however, is the reunification of the military establishment. In any case, the objective of the new Libyan government is to favor the removal of all those “illegitimate” foreign forces, sent during the Libyan conflict also in support of the general in charge of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar.

Regarding relations between Russia and Libya, Dbeibah asked for Moscow’s support in the health, oil, and infrastructure sectors, given that it is a country that boasts a great deal of experience in these fields. At the same time, the return of Russian companies active in Libya before the outbreak of the conflict was requested, in particular those operating in the gas sector and those that had already signed agreements for the construction of railway networks or in other development sectors.

Last but not least, the premier urged the Russian counterpart to reopen its embassy in the North African country, with the consequent return of a Russian ambassador to Tripoli, while Libya has pledged to strengthen its diplomatic representation in Russia. Minister Lavrov, for his part, reiterated his country’s interest in participating in Libyan development and in resolving those issues left unresolved.

As reported by the Libyan prime minister during his visit to Moscow, Libya believes that Russia can play a positive role in promoting peace and stability in the North African country, based on its “strong position” and its influence at the regional and international level. The hope is that the partnership between Tripoli and Moscow can continue, favouring the interests of the Libyan population and guaranteeing sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security in Libya.

Moscow has repeatedly been accused of having recruited and trained men to be sent to the Libyan fighting fronts, in support of General Haftar. You have repeatedly denied accusations on the Russian side. In this regard, Sergej Lavrov himself, during a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem, held in Damascus on 7 September 2020, had rejected the accusations that see Russia using the Syrian territories to send mercenaries and weapons to Libya.

According to the Russian minister, these are unfounded accusations, mostly spread by Turkish and Western media. On the contrary, Moscow said it was committed to promoting peace initiatives, based on an “immediate, permanent and unconditional” ceasefire, and highlighted how it has always supported the efforts made to bring a truce to the North African country.

To date, despite the political developments, there are about 20,000 foreign fighters in the North African country, mainly in the bases of Sirte, al-Jufra, and al-Watiya. This violates one of the principles of the ceasefire agreement of 23 October 2020, in which the warring parties had asked foreign forces and mercenaries to leave Libya within 90 days of signing the agreement.

Yesterday the Security Council of the United Nations, passed a resolution with which the foreign forces and mercenaries stationed in Libya are again urged to leave the country, while it will be authorized the dispatch of a team of international observers, aimed at ensuring compliance with the provisions of the agreement of 23 October and above all the ceasefire.

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