Arab League chief condemns ‘systematic recruitment of mercenaries’ in Libya

Ahram Online , Tuesday 23 Jun 2020

Arab League chief Abul-Gheit (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Arab League chief Abul-Gheit (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit condemned on Tuesday the “systematic recruitment of mercenaries and foreign fighters” in Libya.

Addressing an Arab League ministerial meeting on Libya, Aboul Gheit expressed concern about the “internationalisation of the Libyan conflict,” the increase in “foreign military interventions in the conflict,” and the “continuous violations of the arms embargo.”

“This has made Libya, a member state of the Arab League, an arena for foreign interventions,” he said.

“The Libyan people have been continuously bearing the grave repercussions of the conflict for years, and the developments in the conflict are pushing us away from the objective of reaching a complete settlement. The implications of the conflict pose a threat to the safety and unity of the Libyan state, the stability of neighbouring countries, and Arab national security as a whole,” the head of the pan-Arab organisation warned.

Aboul Gheit stressed that the Arab League insists on maintaining the sovereignty and independence of the Libyan nation and “strongly rejects any voices, whether inside or outside the country,” that call for defection or division, as well as any plans—whether local or foreign—to divide spheres of influence and cause permanent harm to Libya’s social fabric.

Aboul Gheit also said that the Arab League is against all forms for foreign intervention in Libya and “any military solution” to the conflict. 

Instead, he stated, the Arab League only supports a comprehensive political solution to the Libyan crisis that deals with the security, political and economic aspects under UN supervision and in a manner that is consistent with the Arab League’s resolutions and the Berlin talks.

Calling for an end to the clashes, especially around the Libyan city of Sirte, Aboul Gheit pointed out that any arrangements for a truce will not succeed if they are not accompanied by clear rules and commitments about the exit of foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya and the dismantling and demobilising of armed groups that are “operating outside the state authority.”

“We highly appreciate any effort, especially coming from an Arab state, to facilitate the resumption of serious talks between the Libyan brothers,” he said. 

Aboul Gheit referred to the recent Egyptian initiative on Libya as an example of “constructive suggestions” that were “welcomed regionally, internationally and on the Arab level.”

He also mentioned that the Arab League is cooperating with the UN, the African Union, and the European Union to settle the conflict, and that it is leading an international committee that seeks to “implement the conclusions of the Berlin Conference and unify international efforts for peace in Libya.”

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