By Spy Uganda Correspondent
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is again urging countries to withdraw all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya, saying they continue to operate throughout the conflict-stricken North African country in violation of last October’s cease-fire agreement “with no discernible abatement of their activities.”
The UN chief also urged countries supplying arms and military equipment to the foreign fighters to stop violating the UN arms embargo, saying, the movement of aircraft providing logistical support “also continued unabated” at airbases in central Libya in the strategic city of Sirte and nearby Jufra area.
In a report to the UN Security Council circulated Friday, Guterres called for the implementation of “a comprehensive plan for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all mercenaries and foreign forces from Libya, with clear timelines.”
He also urged Libyan parties “to exert every effort to ensure” that parliamentary and presidential elections are held on Dec. 24 in accordance with the political road map that ended hostilities last year.
Subsequent UN-sponsored peace talks brought about a cease-fire last October and installed an interim government that is expected to lead the country into December elections, but the Libyan parliament has so far failed to agree on a legal framework to hold elections.
Guterres cited initial differences over whether presidential elections should be carried out by direct voting or indirectly by the elected parliament, whether a referendum on the draft permanent constitution should be held first, and eligibility criteria for candidates including military personnel and dual citizens.
The UN chief urged the parties and institutions to clarify the constitutional basis for elections and to adopt the necessary electoral laws.
“The political process is now reaching a critical stage and the gains achieved in early 2021 are under threat,” Guterres warned. “It is imperative that the political process fulfils the aspirations of the Libyan people for representative governance brought about through democratic elections.”