Egypt hosts meetings of Libyan 5+5 Joint Military Commission to discuss mercenaries departure plan

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Feb 2023

Cairo hosted on Tuesday meetings of the Libyan 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss the departure plan for mercenaries and foreign forces from Libya, state-owned news agency MENA reported.

Members of Libya s 5 5 military commission during a two-day meeting in Cairo on 30-31 October 2021 to discuss means of expelling foreign troops and mercenaries from the North African country


The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Abdoulaye Bathily and representatives of Libya's neighbouring countries – Sudan, Chad, and Niger – participated in the JMC meetings, which are planned to last for two days.

Bathily stressed that the security track “is an important pillar” for paving the way to establishing a favourable political and economic environment in Libya, according to MENA.

Libya has witnessed a political stalemate since it failed to hold long-awaited elections in December 2021. The country is currently divided between two rival governments; one based in Tripoli, led by Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, and the other appointed by the east-based parliament and led by Fathi Bashagha.

Dbeibah, who has refused to hand over power before holding elections, asserted in early January that his government is ready to hold general elections in 2023. Egypt has repeatedly asserted that holding the elections is the only way to resolve the ongoing crisis in Libya.

Libya failed to hold general elections in December 2021 as previously scheduled due to disagreements over election laws among Libyan parties.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Bathily said that the two-day discussions aim to activate the Libyan liaison committees agreed upon in November 2021 in Cairo, within the framework of preparing for the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries.

At the time, in 2021, the three neighbouring countries expressed their readiness to receive the fighters who belong to their countries and coordinate with the Libyan parties to guarantee that they will not return to Libya.

Bathily noted on Tuesday that the last meeting of the JMC, held on 15-16 January, made progress, including the nomination of members of the Libyan Liaison Committee to let them to work hand-in-hand with their counterparts from Sudan, Chad and Niger.

“Your work is of great importance for the implementation of the action plan for the withdrawal of foreigners and mercenaries,” said Bathily, adding that he attended “a fruitful meeting” with the ambassadors of Sudan, Niger and Chad last week, where they expressed their desire to support the UNSMIL and the Libyan actors to “find permanent solutions to the challenges raised and to cooperate with their Libyan brothers.”

The UN diplomat also thanked the JMC for its efforts to implement the ceasefire agreement, and the steps it has taken so far, in order to activate the action plan signed in Geneva in October 2021 under the auspices of the UNSMIL.

In early January, Egypt facilitated a meeting in Cairo between rival Libyan leaders, Speaker of the House of Representatives Aguila Saleh and Head of Higher Council of State Khaled Al-Mishri

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the outcomes of the meeting, describing it as an “important step” towards holding presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously as soon as possible.

"Egypt will always remain supportive of the choices of the Libyan people and the role of the Libyan institutions in a way that leads to achieving security, stability, and unity in Libya," the foreign ministry said at the time, adding that Egypt will also support Libya in a way that leads to the exit of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libyan lands.

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