European leader urges foreign fighters to leave Libya

CAIRO (AP) — The European Union (EU) on Sunday called for the departure of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya, describing it as a “precondition” for a return to stability in the war-torn country.

At a news conference in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, EU Council President Charles Michel described the appointment of a transitional government earlier this year as a “historic moment”.

The government is meant to shepherd the country through until general elections.

“You have created an opportunity to rebuild your country, but there is one precondition – all foreign fighters and troops must leave the country,” he said, urging Libya’s political – and mostly armed – factions to seize a “unique opportunity to build a united sovereign stable and prosperous country”.

A recently released report by United Nations (UN) experts accused several foreign governments of turning country into a stage to play out rivalries and ignoring UN sanctions and a decade-long UN  arms embargo.

Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs Najla Al-Manqoush gives a press statement together with President of the European Council Charles Michel. PHOTO: AP