By Sami Zaptia.
London, 7 January 2021:
UNSMIL yesterday ‘‘warmly welcomed’’ the news yesterday of an exchange of 35 detainees facilitated by the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) in the city of Shwairif, as part of confidence building measures agreed upon in the 23 October ceasefire agreement.
This second official exchange of detainees is the result of the steadfast commitment by the JMC to move forward with the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement.
In this spirit, UNSMIL said calls on both parties to swiftly finalize ongoing negotiations to re-open the coastal road.
Reopening coastal road, withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and demining
It will be recalled that there is a split within the forces aligned with the internationally recognized government in Tripoli on reopening the coastal road, which was listed in the JMC agreement as one of the confidence-building measures.
Some pro-Tripoli forces are insisting that the Khalifa Hafter forces and their international allies and mercenaries, including Wagner forces, withdraw from the battlefront and demine the minefields they had laid – prior to the reopening of Libya’s main coastal road running west to east.
Guterres calls for international monitoring of Libya’s ceasefire
As a possible way to bypass this impasse and the lack of confidence between the two conflicting Libyan parties, last month, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for the formation of an international committee to monitor Libya’s ceasefire.
This would comprise of civilians and retired military personnel from international bodies such as the African Union, the European Union and the Arab League.
“I call on all concerned local, regional and international bodies to respect the outcome of the ceasefire agreement and to ensure its implementation without delay,” Guterres said.
“I urge Member States and regional organizations to support the mechanism for implementing the ceasefire, including the provision of personnel for observation under the supervision of the United Nations.”
He also called on ‘‘All countries to abide by the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations on Libya, which is subject to flagrant violations.”