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UN calls for the departure of mercenaries and related contractors from Libya in preparation for peace and elections 

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News briefing

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice

Geneva: August 1, 2021

UN experts have called on all mercenaries and private contractors associated with them to leave Libya, saying their “departure is long overdue, a vital precondition for peaceful elections scheduled for later this year.” 

“Nine months after the ceasefire agreement calling for withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, mercenaries and private military and security contractors continue to operate in the country,” said Jelena Aparac, chair of the UN’s Working Group on the use of mercenaries.

“Their continued recruitment and presence in Libya impedes progress in the peace process and constitutes an obstacle for the upcoming elections.”

Experts warned that well-trained and well-armed private contractors from Russia, Syria, Sudan and Chad operating in Libya, some of whom meet the criteria for mercenaries, could negatively affect the security and stability of other countries in the region.

The experts stressed that these mercenaries and mercenary-related actors must leave immediately, and there must be an immediate halt to the transfer of arms and military equipment to Libya.

“We appeal to the international community to take concrete steps to aid this process,” Aparac said.

“If elections are to be held in December 2021 as scheduled, Libyans should be able to undertake that process in a safe and secure environment, and the presence of these actors impedes that,” Aparac added. 

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