IPANEWS

Trump and Erdogan discuss Libyan conflict 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his U.S. counterpart President Donald Trump discussed the latest developments in Libya, where Turkey has been intervening in a conflict between the warring parties, the Libyan National Army (LNA) and Government of National Accord (GNA).

The two leaders, who spoke by phone, also discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, the state-run news agency Anadolu (AA) reported on Wednesday.

The call between the two came after the LNA’s General Khalifa Haftar on Tuesday walked out of Turkey-Russia mediated talks in Moscow that had aimed to establish a ceasefire in Libya.

Erdogan and Trump’s telephone call comes ahead of a United Nations (U.N.)-led summit on the Libyan conflict that is to be held in Berlin on Sunday.

Haftar rejected Turkey’s involvement in the talks as a mediator and demanded the formation of a U.N. committee to oversee the breakup of militias that support the Turkey-backed Fayez al-Sarraj’s GNA.

Initiated by Russia and Turkey, the inconclusive talks were aiming at an unconditional and open-ended ceasefire.

A conditional ceasefire that came into effect over the weekend has been continuing, although both sides are trading blame over reported breaches of the truce.

Moscow backs the LNA through the use of mercenaries, while Ankara supports the U.N.-recognized GNA government with official military advisors, defense equipment, and troops.

The other U.N.-initiated conference has been postponed several times so far due to the continuing fierce fight over the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host four multinational organizations and leaders of 12 countries, including al-Sarraj and Haftar.

Last week, Trump had also talked to Erdogan, saying the foreign interference in the embattled North African country was complicating the conflict.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday also stepped into the fray.

“Only a political process can help us get out of this impasse. There will be no military solution. A ceasefire was announced. There is a calm, but the discussions in Moscow were not conclusive, and each side must respect the truce because it is essential for the Berlin conference,” Le Drian said in a parliamentary hearing.

The French minister accused Erdogan’s Turkey of violating a U.N. arms embargo by providing the GNA with military support.

Earlier this month, the Turkish parliament passed a controversial resolution to deploy troops in Libya to help the GNA forces.

The oil-rich North African country, home to Africa’s largest proven crude reserves, has been wracked by bloody turmoil since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi, drawing increasing involvement from foreign powers.

No ceasefire deal as Libya’s Haftar abruptly leaves Moscow

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