UN Security Council unanimously endorses Libya progress

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Libyans in February marked a decade since the 2011 revolution

The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the progress that Libya's warring sides have made towards peace since signing a ceasefire in October, diplomats said.

The opposing sides in Libya had asked for a UN resolution documenting their progress on political and security issues once they came to the ceasefire agreement last fall.

Libya has been ravaged by bloodshed since the fall and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed 2011 revolt.

An array of armed groups arose to fill the vacuum, and many coalesced around the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord or around strongman Khalifa Haftar, who backed an eastern administration.

The two camps, each supported by foreign powers, fought for more than a year before Haftar was forced to retreat.

In October they signed a truce, setting in motion a UN-led process that saw a new transitional government installed in February.

The resolution that was passed in New York Friday, obtained by AFP, calls for the creation of a ceasefire surveillance unit of up to 60 members within the UN mission in Libya, called UNSMIL.

This is separate from a ceasefire monitoring mechanism that the warring parties themselves are working to create.

The UN unit will help the local one oversee the ceasefire. But the resolution says nothing about who will oversee the departure of the 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries who have joined the fray in Libya.

The resolution welcomes the October 23, 2020 ceasefire agreement" as well as the interim government "charged with leading the country up to national elections on December 24, 2021."

It calls on all Libyan parties "to ensure full implementation" of the ceasefire, and urges all member states to support its implementation, "including through the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay."

- Mercenaries -

On the security front, the resolution stresses "the need to plan for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups and all relevant non-state armed actors, security sector reform and the establishment of an inclusive, accountable, civilian-led security architecture for Libya as a whole."

The figure of 60 UN observers appeared to be far fewer than Western states who argued for "a robust mechanism" had been hoping for.

The UN has, however, encountered stiff opposition from Libyans to any large foreign presence on their soil supervising the ceasefire, which they want to retain control of themselves.

The presence in Libya of Turkish troops and of mercenaries from Russia, Syria, Chad and Sudan, remains "a big concern," according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. But for the UN observer mission, which is unarmed, the "focus will be on the ceasefire," he said.

According to diplomats, the Security Council also unanimously adopted a second resolution on Libya on Friday.

The second text renews until mid-2022 the mandate of the UN experts tasked with verifying an embargo on arms sale to Libya -- widely violated in recent years including by members of the Security Council -- as well as the sanctions regime aimed at preventing illicit oil exports from the country.

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