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Iran Press TV

Haftar unlikely to respect Libya truce: Turkey's Erdogan

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 26 January 2020 6:29 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says eastern Libya's renegade military commander, Khalifa Haftar, couldn't be expected to respect a ceasefire called between his forces and pro-government troops in Libya.

Speaking during a visit to Algeria on Sunday, Erdogan said Libya "should not be allowed to turn into a playground for terrorist organizations and warlords".

Before leaving on a visit to Algeria, Erdogan also said Haftar's forces had repeatedly violated the ceasefire, adding that international support for his Libyan National Army (LNA) faction was "spoiling" Haftar.

"At this point, we need to see clearly what Haftar's identity is. He is a man who has betrayed his superiors before as well," Erdogan said.

"It is not possible to expect mercy and understanding from someone like this on the ceasefire," the Turkish president said, adding, "He's continuing attacks with all his resources. However, he will not be successful here."

Erdogan's visit to Algeria follows a trip he made last month to Tunisia.

President Erdogan has recently warned that chaos in Libya will affect the entire Mediterranean region if peace is not established as soon as possible.

Last week the foreign ministers of countries bordering Libya met in Algiers amid concerns that the conflict would further embolden militant factions.

Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival camps – the Tripoli-based government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and a camp in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebel forces under the command of Haftar.

After years of living in exile in the US, Haftar returned to Libya in 2011 and now receives support from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

Haftar's militia forces have been sowing chaos in Libya. In April, they launched an assault on the capital to unseat Sarraj's government, which is supported by Ankara.

Fighting has abated in the past weeks, but picked up at the weekend in southern Tripoli.

More than 150,000 people have been displaced by the months of fighting.

Despite efforts by Turkey and Russia, Haftar abandoned talks on a ceasefire in Moscow this month and his blockade of Libyan oilfields overshadowed a summit in Berlin last week.

World powers have stepped up efforts in recent weeks to find a political solution to the fighting in Libya.

Last Sunday, leaders from Turkey, Russia, Egypt, France, Italy, Britain, and the United States, as well as Sarraj and Haftar, attended the UN-backed summit in Berlin to help establish a "permanent" ceasefire between the warring sides.

In Berlin, foreign powers agreed to form a special committee made up of five military officials from each side to shore up the shaky truce.

They are due to meet for the first time this week in Geneva.

Erdogan said on Sunday he did not expected a result from that committee due to Haftar's stance.

Turkey, the UAE, Egypt, Russia and western countries agreed in Berlin to uphold an existing arms embargo.

But the UN mission in Libya said on Saturday numerous cargo flights bringing advanced weapons from countries that took part in the summit have been landing in western and eastern Libya.

Turkey had previously warned Europe that it could face threats originating Libya if the Libyan government was not shored up. On the eve of the Berlin summit, President Erdogan had warned of threats to Europe from terrorist organizations if the Libyan government were to fall.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.



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