By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 30 October 2021:
UNSMIL hopes today’s Cairo 5+5 JMC meeting will lead to the first steps in the process of foreign troop withdrawals. The sentiment was expressed by UNSMIL head Jan Kubis at the opening of today’s session in the Egyptian capital.
Here is his full speech:
‘‘First of all, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt for hosting and supporting this meeting at the request of the 5+5 JMC facilitated by UNSMIL. Also, I would like to express appreciation and gratitude to the representatives of Chad, Niger, and Sudan for participating in this important meeting and their willingness to work together with the 5+5 JMC on the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya in a way that would not have a destabilizing effect on the situation in their countries and in the region.
As you know, UNSMIL has consistently engaged in efforts with the aim of helping Libya to restore its stability, unity, and full sovereignty. These efforts, in close coordination with our Libyan friends and cooperation with international partners including our Egyptian partners, resulted in a critical milestone – the Ceasefire agreement on 23 October 2020, adopted by the (5+5) Joint Military Commission (JMC).
From that date till now, we have witnessed relentless efforts of the (5+5) JMC working as one aimed at the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement starting from maintaining the ceasefire, opening the airspace, exchanging detainees, a joint effort in securing the Great Man-made River, and the opening of the coastal road.
In response to the aspirations of the Libyan people and in line with conclusions of the Berlin Conferences 1 and 2 and respective United Nations Security Council resolutions on Libya, the (5+5) JMC signed on 8 October 2021 in a meeting in Geneva, facilitated by UNSMIL a comprehensive Libyan Action Plan, which will be the cornerstone for the gradual, balanced, and sequenced process of the withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces from Libyan territory.
The Action Plan is a Libyan plan agreed by the JMC and supported by the Libyan authorities; is a nationally owned and led instrument with concrete ideas and parameters on how to implement it. The plan is a critical step for the long and arduous process on the way to sustainable peace, stability, security, cooperation, and development in Libya and the region.
Based on the Action Plan, the JMC intends to develop an implementation plan and mechanism for the gradual, balanced, and sequenced departure of all mercenaries, foreign fighters, and foreign forces, through consultations and negotiations with Libya’s neighbors and other international partners.
The Action Plan was acknowledged at the Stabilization Initiative Conference which was held in Tripoli on 21 October in the presence of Foreign Ministers or their representatives including those of Chad, Niger, and Sudan, as well as of representatives from the JMC who presented the Action Plan.
The JMC has laid the foundation for peace and political processes including the elections in Libya. Our meeting today, and the meetings and consultations that will follow, are only the first steps in the way of preparing a concrete implementation plan for the withdrawal of all mercenaries, foreign fighters, and foreign forces from Libya, important also in light of the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
I would like to express my hope that your meeting in Cairo will result in a mutual understanding of major building blocks and coordination mechanisms necessary for the withdrawal and will enable agreeing on the first steps of the withdrawal process that will take fully into account the needs and concerns of Libya and its neighbors. I count on your full cooperation as well as the support of the African Union in this noble and critically important endeavor.
I pledge the full support of the UN.’’