Erdogan, Trump reach 'agreements' on Libya

Source:AFP Published: 2020/6/9 17:33:40

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with visiting Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj at the presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey, on June 4, 2020. Turkey and Libya agreed to further enhance their cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean over a deal made on maritime delimitation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday. (Xinhua)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said he reached "some agreements" with US counterpart Donald Trump over Libya during telephone talks. 

Ankara supports Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and has stepped up military support for Tripoli against warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The US officially backs the GNA, but Haftar is supported by Washington's allies Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

"After our call this evening, there could be a new era between the US and Turkey regarding the [Libya] process," Erdogan told state broadcaster TRT.

"We reached some agreements during our call" over Libya, he said, and alluded to a "possible step" the two countries could take together but offered no details.

However, Erdogan said he would need to also hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discuss what steps could be taken regarding Libya.

The Turkish leader said while Moscow denied any of its soldiers were in Libya, there was Russian military hardware in the north African country including combat jets.

Earlier on Monday, the Turkish presidency said in a statement that Erdogan and Trump had "agreed to continue their close cooperation to promote peace and stability in Libya."

Turkey has helped the GNA, with drones and air defense systems, inflict a series of battlefield setbacks in recent weeks on Haftar's forces who have been fighting to take Tripoli since April 2019.

In the interview, Erdogan also said "developments showed Haftar could be excluded from the peace process at any moment."

Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj was in Ankara last week, where he said his forces were "determined" to take over the entire country from his rival Haftar.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the flow of weapons into Libya and urged a ceasefire during a call with Sarraj in May.

Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. But the latest phase of the conflict began after Turkey signed security and maritime agreements with Libya's GNA in late 2019.



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