The United States has called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian and Turkish forces from Libya after the deadline for their withdrawal was ignored.
“We call on all outside parties, including Russia, Turkey and the UAE, to respect Libya’s sovereignty and immediately end all military intervention in Libya,” US Chargé d’Affaires at the UN Richard Mills said at a Security Council meeting on Libya.
In accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed on October 23 with the support of the UN, foreign troops and mercenaries were to leave Libya within three months. The deadline expired on Saturday, but no local announcement or movement was observed.
“In line with the October ceasefire agreement, we call on Turkey and Russia to immediately begin withdrawing their troops from the country and removing foreign mercenaries and military puppets they are hiring, funding, deploying and supporting in Libya,” Mills said.
According to UN estimates, there are about 20,000 foreign soldiers and mercenaries in Libya.
Turkey is the main patron of the Tripoli-based government, which enjoys UN backing, while the UAE, Russia and Egypt support the forces of military commander Khalifa Hifter, which control much of the east and south of the country.
Last year, UN experts said the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company, had provided Haftar with between 800 and 1,200 mercenaries. According to the diplomats of the Security Council, there are also thousands of mercenaries from Syria, Sudan and Chad in Libya.
Mills made it clear that the Biden administration supports the rival Libyan parties’ demands for an end to military intervention and the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries, as outlined in the October 23 ceasefire agreement.
“The outside forces that are conducting military intervention in this conflict have completely ignored the demands of the Libyans,” he said.
Mills also stressed: “It is very important that the Libyan people and the international community take all necessary steps to prevent destructive forces from getting in the way of this political transition.”
The mission of Russia to the UN stated that there are no Russian servicemen on Libyan territory and that Russia is not conducting any military intervention in Libya.
The statement notes that Moscow cannot completely rule out the presence of Russian citizens in Libya as mercenaries, but the call for their withdrawal should be addressed to those who hired them.
Russian Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenzya in his speech to the Security Council did not mention the presence of foreign fighters in Libya at all.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General António Guterres said that “Libyans are making a remarkable effort to unite” and stressed that it is “imperative” that all foreign troops and mercenaries leave the country.