Turkey urges UN-led process for lasting truce in Libya
Turkey has urged the international community that a lasting ceasefire to be brokered in Libya should be fostered by an U.N.-led political process in line with the conditions set out by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) that require the withdrawal of General Khalifa Haftar’s forces from the cities it captured, including Sirte.
“Hereafter, we have to accelerate the political process under the U.N. roof, but there are, of course, some concerns and conditions imposed by the legitimate government for a permanent ceasefire. These conditions should be met so that the ceasefire should no longer be violated,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in London after his talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab late July 8.
Çavuşoğlu paid a one-day trip to London to talk bilateral relations as well as regional and international matters with his British interlocutors. The Turkish foreign minister stressed Turkey thinks the only solution in Libya is a political one and it is in agreement with the U.K. to this end.
“There is no difference of opinion between Turkey and the U.K. over the political unity and territorial integrity of Libya,” he stated.
Britain, Germany and France called for a ceasefire in Libya in a joint written statement last week as more countries and the U.N. are urging that the armed conflict should be ceased before things get worse in the North African country.
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the U.N., described the context in Libya as “gloomy” and urged the international community to seize every opportunity to unblock the political stalemate.
“Time is not on our side in Libya”, he told a videoconference meeting of the Security Council that featured statements by several foreign ministers. “The conflict has entered a new phase, with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels, including in the delivery of sophisticated equipment and the number of mercenaries involved in the fighting.”
Russia and Turkey working on truce: Russian FM
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has suggested that Ankara and Moscow were working to reach a ceasefire in Libya.
“Our Turkish colleagues are working in this direction with the Government of National Accord. I hope that they will be able to reach this solution, which is the only correct one in the current conditions,” he said, according to Russian news agencies.
Lavrov added that the Russian Foreign Ministry and its Turkish colleagues are working on approaches that would ensure the immediate declaration of a ceasefire in Libya. The work is held within the framework of the dialogue approved by the Russian and Turkish leaders. “We are sending a clear signal that the first necessary and only step is the declaration of a full ceasefire,” Lavrov stressed.
Turkey and Russia, however, differ on the parameters of a ceasefire. Turkey believes a ceasefire should be part of a broader agreement to ensure that it will not be broken by Haftar’s forces again. The GNA wants the withdrawal of Haftar’s forces from the cities it controlled as a result of its April 2019 offensive, which includes the strategic town of Sirte and the disarmament of the militias fighting against the Tripoli government.
‘Supports given to Haftar should be cut’
Meanwhile, Turkey continued to urge U.N. Security Council members as well as other nations that efforts to position Haftar as if he is equal to an internationally recognized government were wrong and futile.
“This serious mistake should be corrected,” deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal told an online special session at the U.N. Security Council with the participation of the participants of the Berlin Conference on Libya.
“Efforts to resurrect a totalitarian regime will only cause more instability in Libya and entire region,” he said, recalling Haftar’s unilateral declaration of his rule in Libya despite existing U.N. resolutions.
Pledging political and military support to Haftar is against the international law and relevant U.N. resolutions, the deputy foreign minister said, defying criticisms directed against Turkey for its backing to GNA.
“Turkey considers supporting the Libyan government’s efforts to protect its legitimacy and civilian lives as an international responsibility. A major humanitarian crisis has been avoided after the Libyan government could redress the balance in the field [against Haftar] as a result of our technical assistance and training upon the request of the GNA,” he stated.