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Turkey urges 'immediate' end to Haftar support in Libya

20 July 2020, MVT 22:26
(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 08, 2019, fighters from a Misrata armed group loyal to the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) prepare their ammunition before heading to the frontline as battles against Forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, in Tripoli - The US charged on July 16, 2020, that the EU's Operation Irini to enforce a UN embargo on sending weapons to war-torn Libya lacked seriousness, sharing Turkey's criticism that the effort is biased. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)
20 July 2020, MVT 22:26

Turkey on Monday urged an "immediate" end to the support for rebel commander Khalifa Haftar in Libya after trilateral talks held in Ankara between Libyan, Maltese and Turkish officials.

Turkey earlier this year stepped up its support for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) after Haftar launched an offensive in April 2019 to seize the capital.

Libya has been entrenched in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi with rival political and armed groups battling for control.

Haftar is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates -- countries with whom Turkey's relations are strained -- as well as Russia.

"It is essential that all kind of help and support given to putschist Haftar, which prohibits ensuring Libya's peace, tranquility, security and territorial integrity, ends immediately," Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

His comments came after a meeting with the interior ministers of Libya and Malta at the defence ministry in the Turkish capital.

Haftar's backers should "stop supporting an unrealistic and wrong project," GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga said, according to a Turkish defence ministry translation.

"The international community should prioritise the preservation of a united Libya," Malta's Interior Minister Byron Camilleri said, joined by Akar and Bashaga.

After the GNA signed security and maritime agreements with Turkey last year, Ankara's military support including drones helped it re-impose control over Libya's northwest.

Ankara, Turkey | AFP

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