The United Nations (UN) is looking to bring in monitors to oversee Libya’s fragile ceasefire that was agreed between rival parties in October, and which has been widely flouted over recent weeks.
In a letter to Security Council members, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the “setting up of a monitoring group that would include civilians and retired soldiers from regional groups, such as the African Union, the European Union and the Arab League”, AFP reported last Thursday.
Guterres called on “all national, regional and international stakeholders to respect the provisions of the ceasefire agreement, and ensure its implementation without delay”, according the letter. In the meantime, the UN Secretary-General called for the organisation’s arms embargo on Libya to be respected.
The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper cited a military official from the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), on Friday, as saying that the LAAF rejects Guterres’s proposal, considering it “interference in Libya”.
According to Guterres’s proposal, the monitors will be distributed in a triangular section of Libya focused around Sirte, from where they would then expand to other parts of the country.
There are currently 20,000 foreign fighters in Libya, the UN Acting Special Representative Stephanie Williams said, in December, adding that those fighters represent “a serious crisis” and “a shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty”.
“The permanent and complete ceasefire agreement that was signed by the rival Libyan parties last October provides that all military units and armed groups on the frontlines shall return to their camps,” Williams added.
The agreement also stipulates that this shall be accompanied by the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters from all Libyan territories, whether land, air or sea, within a maximum period of three months.
However, neither side of the rival parties has withdrawn forces from the frontline, as concerns have been raised over an escalation that could alter efforts aimed for settling the crisis.
The UN has intensified its efforts during the past months to end the long-time crisis in Libya which has led to the dispersion of power and the deterioration of the country’s economic conditions and living standards of the Libyan people.
The October ceasefire between the warring parties in Libya has paved the way for the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) that was launched from Tunisia in November.
The talks were held over recent months in countries including Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco, and resulted in a roadmap to elections on 24 December 2021.
The holding of elections requires the establishment of a new and reformed Presidency Council, and an effective and unified Government of National Unity. These requirements have been outlined in the conclusion of the Berlin Conference, and adopted by UN Security Council Resolution 2510 (2020), according to the UN.
Turkey, which supports the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) with military assistance and foreign mercenaries, extended for 18 months, in December, a law that allows the deployment of Turkish troops to Libya.
While the GNA is backed by Ankara, the LAAF is supported by the UAE, Egypt and Russia.
Since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, Libya has undergone years of conflict. The oil-rich country has been split between two parties since 2014, the GNA in Tripoli, and LAAF in Benghazi.