Libya: Mercenaries' Presence Stall Libya Peace Prospects

Tripoli — VIOLATIONS of the United Nations (UN) arms embargo and delays in withdrawing foreign mercenaries are threatening to disrupt the peace process in Libya.

The North African country is experiencing rare stability for the first time in a decade and in the middle of a transitional exercise ahead of upcoming elections.

However, the above-mentioned issues are an impediment, the UN's top envoy warned.

"The continued use, presence and activities of thousands of mercenaries, foreign fighters and armed groups is a significant threat not just to Libya's security, but to the region as a whole," said Ján Kubiš, Special Envoy of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres .

The Slovak diplomat is also the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

Libya is expected to hold credible elections on December 24.

Necessary electoral legislation must be adopted by no later than July 1.

"The significant progress and achievements in the past many months must be consolidated, the processes must regain momentum," Kubiš said.

Libya plunged into crisis in 2011 when longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was toppled and later murdered.

Various factions have presided over the oil-rich country.

A humanitarian crisis sparked by migrants and refugees that have failed to reach Europe via Libya has added to the country's woes.

Over 575 000 of these individuals from over 41 countries are currently in Libya.

Most are detained in horrific conditions.

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