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UNSMIL Welcomes Opening of Libya’s Coastal Highway

UNSMIL Welcomes Opening of Libya’s Coastal Highway

Saturday, 31 July, 2021 - 07:30
The opening ceremony of the coastal highway at al-Khamseen Gate, west of Sirte (Ministry of Interior)

Libya witnessed on Friday the official opening of the vital coastal highway linking the east and west of the country after a two-year closure.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) welcomed the move and congratulated the Libyan people for this "landmark and historic achievement."

"The opening of the Coastal Road is another step in strengthening peace, security, and stability in the country, and in the unification of its institutions," announced Special Envoy Jan Kubis.

He indicated that this is also a signal to the country's leaders to set aside their differences and work together to implement the roadmap and hold elections on December 24.

"The next major step in the ceasefire agreement's implementation process is to commence the withdrawal of all mercenaries, foreign fighters, and forces from Libya without delay," Kubis stressed.

The 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) announced the opening of the coastal road on Friday. The commission includes representatives of the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and the unity government's forces.

The opening ceremony was held at al-Khamseen Gate, west of Sirte, and attended by JMC members, local officials, and the UNSMIL delegation. Hundreds of cars and trucks crossed the highway into the western region.

JMC member Major General Ahmed Abu Shahma said that this would end the suffering of citizens and accelerate the delivery of all necessary and humanitarian aid to all cities.

Abu Shahma explained that the committee seeks to remove mercenaries and foreign forces from Libyan territories, citing his talks with Kubis to help communicate with the relevant countries that have troops on Libyan soil to "get them out."

He said that the military engineering and demining teams are working to clear mines and secure the movement of travelers and cattle.

In a televised speech, Haftar cautioned that peace will not be possible “unless all foreign forces and mercenaries leave the Libyan territories unconditionally" and urged the international community to double its efforts to achieve this end.

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