The Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity, Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, confirmed on Friday that he was not aware of any understanding between Russia and Turkey regarding the withdrawal of their foreign fighters, but at the same time hinted that such a step would be welcomed by Libya.
Speaking to Reuters in New York, Dbeibah said he was committed to holding elections on December 24, but warned that some lawmakers might be reluctant to relinquish power.
He added that he had not yet decided whether he would run for the presidency.
In the wake of last month’s Berlin conference; it was reported that Germany and the United States, in addition to Turkey and Russia, which support the conflicting parties in Libya; that they were heading to reach an initial understanding on the gradual withdrawal of their foreign fighters.
Dbeibah said: “I have not heard about this agreement about the withdrawal of fighters, but we welcome any agreement, and we welcome the exit of any foreign forces, fighters or mercenaries under any support by any party. We are talking with all parties about the withdrawal of foreign forces from Libya.”
Thousands of Syrians have taken part in the fighting inside Libya either alongside Turkish forces, or with Russia’s Wagner Group.
Under the ceasefire reached last October; all foreign fighters were supposed to have left Libya by January.
Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky, told the Security Council on Thursday that Moscow supports a “gradual withdrawal of all foreign forces and units.”
At the same time, Polyansky added that they needed to make sure that the current balance of power on the ground was not tampered with because thanks to this balance; the situation in Libya remains calm and no threats of armed escalation emerge.
Dbeibah told the Security Council that the continued presence of foreign fighters constitutes “a real danger to the current political process, and also threatens efforts to continue the ceasefire and unify the army in Libya.”
He also told Reuters that it would be “extremely difficult” to unify the army, in this situation.
For his part, the UN envoy to Libya, Jan Kubis, said on Thursday that the national army did not allow the unity government to control the area the army controls.
Dbeibah said during the interview: “Of course, it is necessary to communicate with Haftar, but he is a difficult military person, but we communicate with him, although things are not easy.”