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The call for the departure of foreign fighters present in Libya is not new, reiterated for months. Never, however, had he so dominated a diplomatic meeting. The international conference on Libya, which brought together, Wednesday, June 23, in Berlin, sixteen countries and four international organizations (United Nations, European Union, African Union and Arab League), urged at “All foreign forces and mercenaries” from “Withdraw without delay” from Libyan soil. If peace has returned to the North African country since the signing, on October 23, of a ceasefire formally ending the “Battle of Tripoli” (April 2019-June 2020), the legacy the escalation of foreign interference permitted by the fighting has still not been resolved.
In his attempt to conquer the Libyan capital, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, boss of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (ANL), based in Cyrenaica (East) and present in Fezzan (South), had then benefited from the support of Russian fighters of the Wagner Group, followed later by pro-Russian Syrian mercenaries. The rival camp of Tripolitania – organized around the militias of Tripoli and Misrata – had for its part victoriously resisted the assault, thanks to the massive support of Turkish forces, backed by pro-Ankara Syrian mercenaries. About 5,000 of these soldiers, regular or paramilitary, are still stationed in Libya, to the chagrin of Europeans and Americans who are increasing – in vain, to this day – the calls for their departure.
On the eve of the Berlin conference, the German foreign ministry was concerned about the “Risk of further destabilization” induced by this continuous presence. The American Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, defended a similar point of view on Monday, June 21, recalling the “Destabilizing actions” Chadian rebels from the Front for Alternation and Concord in Chad, whose infiltration from southern Libya had caused the death at the front of President Idriss Déby at the end of May. These rebels, according to Mr. Norland, “Had been trained by Wagner’s mercenaries”.
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