Libya's 5+5 commission, neighbouring countries agree to cooperate on African mercenaries pullout

Ahram Online , Mohamed Soliman , Monday 1 Nov 2021

The 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) agreed with representatives from neighbouring countries – Sudan, Chad, and Niger – to "fully" cooperate to ensure the exit of all foreign fighters belonging to their countries from Libyan territories.

Libya s 5 5 commission
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

During two-day talks hosted by Cairo and sponsored by the United Nations, representatives of the three 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, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported. 

The talks kicked off on Saturday in implementation of the outcomes of the latest meeting of the 5+5 Libyan commission in Geneva on 8 October, in which the east- and west-based Libyan rivals agreed on an action plan for the "phased withdrawal" of foreign forces and mercenaries.

Libya's 5+5 commission, formed in 2020, was one of three tracks in the UN-backed settlement process meant to ensure the withdrawal of all foreign fighters from Libya. Thousands of mercenaries and foreign fighters were brought to the oil-rich country by different foreign powers.

All parties participating in the Cairo meeting stressed the importance of setting up "permanent and effective" channels of communication to end the years-long predicament, which stands in the way of Libya's stability and is seen as a linchpin for shoring up a year-old ceasefire. 

In October 2020, the east- and west-based Libyan camps reached a UN-brokered ceasefire after years of violence that has affected Libya when the 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi and divided the country into two camps.

A parallel internationally recognised political process was reached earlier this year as well in a bid to unify the conflict-torn country; an interim government was established to guide the country towards the December elections.

The Libyan military commission also thanked Egypt for hosting the talks, which were attended by UN Special Envoy for Libya Ján Kubiš.

In recent months, Egypt has hosted a set of meetings to bridge the gap between various Libyan parties and foster dialogue.

Cairo has been pushing for a political settlement in Libya for years, complete disarming of militias, an end to foreign intervention in the country, as well as the fair distribution of wealth among Libya's various regions.

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