Erdogan vows to liberate Libya from Russian-backed General Haftar

Erdogan vows to liberate all of Libya from Russian-backed General Haftar
2 min read
19 February, 2020
Erdogan said Turkey would continue supporting the Tripoli authorities to 'establish dominance' over the whole of the country.
Libya's GNA announced Tuesday it was halting its participation in UN talks. [Getty]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said he will help Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) take control of the entire country if international talks fail to achieve a peace agreement.

Libya's unity government announced late on Tuesday that it was halting its participation in UN talks aimed at brokering a lasting ceasefire in the war-torn country, where a fragile truce has been repeatedly violated.

The pull-out came after a barrage of rocket fire hit a port in the capital Tripoli - the target of a months-long operation by eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar to oust the GNA.

Speaking at the Justice and Development Party's (AK) headquarters, Erdogan said Turkey would continue supporting the Tripoli authorities to "establish dominance" over the whole of the country.

Last month, Turkey's parliament passed a bill approving a military deployment to Libya, aimed at shoring up the UN-backed Tripoli-based government of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Turkey has reportedly deployed more than two thousand Syrian fighters to Libya to fend off an offensive by Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) forces. 

Earlier this week EU foreign ministers agreed to launch a naval mission to enforce an arms embargo, which the UN said was being violated by air, land and sea.

The naval operation will be authorised to intervene to stop weapons shipments into the North African state.

Erdogan on Wednesday condemned the statement, saying the EU had no authority to make decisions about Libya.

Countries including Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt support Haftar, while the UN-recognised government led by Fayez al-Sarraj is backed by Turkey and Qatar.

Haftar on Wednesday met Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at an undisclosed location for talks on resolving the conflict, the Russian defence ministry said.

They discussed "the important role" of Moscow talks in January and "the need to fulfil" terms agreed at talks in Berlin last month, it said.

World leaders had agreed at the meeting to end all meddling in the conflict and stop the flow of weapons, but little has changed on the ground since then.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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