On Friday, the Russia Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, said that the participants of the Paris International Conference for Libya confirmed the need to withdraw foreign troops from Libyan territory gradually and smoothly.
“The withdrawal should be complete, at the same time it should be performed in stages, gradually, and it has to be synchronized in terms of withdrawing those who support Libya’s West and those who support [its] East,” the Russia FM said in press statements.
According to the Russia top diplomat, this approach will allow to preserve the balance of forces thanks to which Libya has managed to maintain truce for over a year.
The Foreign Minister noted that previous agreements on Libya were upheld at the conference.
“As for the withdrawal of foreign military groups, armed forces and so on, then the decision made today upheld the formula contained in the final document of the Berlin conference this July and the formula that literally a couple of weeks ago, Libya’s Joint Military Commission (JMC), the so-called 5+5, recorded in its decisions,” the Russia diplomat said.
Earlier, United Nations (UN) Secretary General, António Guterres, expressed concern over the continued presence of foreign troops in Libya despite the agreement to withdraw them.
On Friday, the 5+5 JMC reported that Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) would withdraw 300 mercenaries from the regions controlled by it per France’s request.
The Paris conference came at a time when the Libyan elections, due on December 24th, are approaching and there is a pressing need to back the Libyan people in order to provide a secure process to achieve political stability and security.
Libya has been mired in civil war since the overthrow of its longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi in a 2011 uprising, with the bloodshed drawing in competing Libyan factions and armed groups, as well as regional powers.
The presidential vote on December 24th, along with legislative elections, are the core parts of a UN plan to help restore stability, but this schedule has been under pressure as tensions resume between rival camps.