Qatar offers backing to Libya unity government

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Qatar on Sunday gave its support to Libya’s internationally backed political process, which aims to lift the North African nation out of a decade of conflict and foreign interference.

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“We support the UN-sponsored political process in the hope that it preserves the territorial integrity of Libya and prevents foreign interference in its affairs,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on a visit to the Libyan capital.

“Our exchanges were fruitful, in particular on support for the transition process in Libya... Qatar’s position is firm,” he told reporters, standing alongside his Libyan counterpart, Najla al-Mangoush.

Since Libya’s new government took power, several countries have reopened embassies, and Mangoush said she hoped that Doha would soon follow suit.

“I think I have had good news,” Mangoush added, without providing further details.

The toppling and killing of former leader Muammar Ghaddafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising plunged Libya into a bloody, decade-long struggle for power.

But in October, rival groups signed a truce, setting in motion a UN-led process.

Libya’s interim unity government came into being in March -- replacing two rival administrations, one based in the capital Tripoli and the other in the country’s east -- to lead the country to elections in December.

Qatar, along with Turkey, had backed the government in the west of Libya, while countries including the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt had backed the eastern forces.

According to the UN, more than 20,000 foreign mercenaries and military personnel are still in Libya. They include Turkish, Russian, Sudanese and Chadian mercenaries.

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