The US is in talks with some of the key actors in Libya over the withdrawal of foreign forces ahead of elections planned for December, Washington’s top Libya envoy said on Monday.
Part of the importance of Libya’s elections, according to Special Envoy for Libya Richard Norland, is for a fully empowered, credible, and legitimate government to compel foreign actors to withdraw their forces.
“That will be a very important development and … very impactful, but we’re not suggesting that we have to wait until next year to try to make some progress,” Norland said ahead of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s travel to the Second Berlin Conference on Libya this week.
“There are negotiations underway with some of the key actors aimed at trying to remove some of the mercenaries, the foreign fighters,” Norland added.
However, while the establishment of a unified administration and a push for national elections in December are considered as the best opportunity for a long-term political settlement in years, the process is not without its difficulties.
Most territory is still controlled by local armed groups, major outside powers have not pulled foreign fighters from the front lines, and key figures disagree on the management of Libya’s economic resources.
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