Foreign mercenaries may thwart Libyan ceasefire – WSJ

The arrival of thousands of foreign mercenaries has escalated fighting in Libya and is threatening attempts to resolve the country’s conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The European Union is considering forming a naval force to revive an arms embargo on the country, the WSJ quoted EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell as saying on Monday.

However, with foreign fighters being flown in to Libya and few specifics in last week’s ceasefire call on how to limit the flow of arms to the country, observers believe it will be difficult to secure peace, the newspaper said.

The leaders of the Tripoli-based and U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord, which Turkey backs, and Libyan National Army, which is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, went to Berlin for peace talks on Sunday.

But the two leaders did not personally meet in Berlin, and the Libyan National Army has continued to launch shells at the capital despite their agreement to abide by a ceasefire after the talks.

Now Western powers are focusing on ways to prevent the flow of arms to the country as the opposing sides’ foreign backers prepare for full-blown conflict, said the WSJ.

Mercenaries from Wagner Group, a Russian private security firm said to have close ties to the Kremlin, helped General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army press towards the capital in an offensive last year.

Following a November agreement with the Government of National Accord, Turkey has begun deploying military trainers and advisers to support Tripoli, also recruiting and training thousands of its Syrian rebel allies to fight on the Libyan front line.

“They are preparing for war,” said Wolfram Lacher, a Libya expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, referring to the foreign backers of the Libyan factions.