The Libya Quartet, which brings together the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the African Union (AU), and the European Union (EU), called for the withdrawal of foreigners in a joint statement on Tuesday.
The leaders of the Libya Quartet, who met through videoconference, called for “the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from the entirety of Libya’s territory.”
The demanded “full compliance with the arms embargo” imposed by the UN on the North African country.
The arms embargo, which has been in place since 2011, has been routinely violated despite pledges made by the foreign patrons of the Libyan warring sides and other concerned parties during a summit in Berlin in January 2020 not to interfere in Libya’s internal affairs and its conflict and to “fully respect” the embargo.
Libya has been grappling with unchecked violence since the overthrow of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi during an uprising backed by NATO in 2011.
Since 2014, the country has been the scene of fighting between government forces and armed rebels.
The conflict has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country.
The Libyan rebels are supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Jordan. And the government forces are backed by Turkey.
According to the UN, some 20,000 foreign fighters, mainly troops from Turkey and mercenaries from Russia, Syria, Chad, and Sudan, are currently deployed in Libya.
The Libya Quartet “condemned the continued violations of the UN arms embargo and emphasized that all external military intervention in Libya is unacceptable.”
Following the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote on Twitter, “After years of senseless violence and suffering, there is a window of opportunity in Libya.”
“We stand with the people of Libya and pledge to work with them to help build a better future,” he said.
The UN mediated a historic ceasefire agreement between the Libyan warring parties last October.
That agreement led to the formation of an interim unity government, led by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
The interim government will run the country until presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24.