Rabat — The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) released a statement Monday urging all parties to the country’s UN-moderated political process to comply with the stipulations of a ceasefire agreement signed late last year.
The statement comes amid growing fears of resurgent violence after Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha escaped an assassination attempt earlier this week.
Jan Kubis, president of UNSMIL and the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Libya, hosted multi-day peace talks with multiple domestic actors and pushed for greater compliance with the terms of last year’s ceasefire.
The negotiations included representatives from the Tripoli-based United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), the eastern-based House of Representatives, the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), the National Oil Corporation, the High National Election Commission, and the newly-appointed executive authority.
The ceasefire agreement the groups signed last October mandated a complete expulsion of foreign mercenaries from the country. Mercenaries and weapons have been pouring into Libya on all sides of the conflict since the eastern-based army launched its offensive in 2019.
The Libyan National Army, led by General Khalifa Haftar, opposes the sovereignty of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord based in the capital city of Tripoli. Russia and the United Arab Emirates remain the most prominent suppliers of Haftar’s forces.
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The Russian Wagner Group is among the greatest suppliers of mercenaries to Libya, sending thousands of paramilitary forces to fight alongside Haftar against the GNA. The organization is run by prominent Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a figure many have described as close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While the ceasefire’s deadline for the departure of mercenaries was last month, local pundits report little change in the number of foreign fighters in the region.
Many in Libya fear domestic violence may be on the rise once again after a “well-planned” attempt on Minister Bashagha’s life this past Sunday. Assailants fired upon Bashagha’s convoy with machine guns as the minister returned to his home in Janzur, due west of Tripoli.
Bashagha was unharmed in the attack.
The minister has been described as one of the GNA’s most powerful members, promising to end corruption in the North African country.
One of the aggressors was killed and two others injured in return-fire from Bashagha’s police escort. No other information has been released regarding the identity nor the military affiliation of the perpetrators.
A UNSMIL statement confirmed the mission will continue to support efforts to ensure fair and democratic elections in Libya in December 2021.