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Erdogan: Turkey Starting Libya Troop Deployment

Erdogan: Turkey Starting Libya Troop Deployment

Thursday, 16 January, 2020 - 11:15
FILE PHOTO: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacts during a Kuala Lumpur Summit roundtable session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia December 19, 2019. Malaysia Department of Information/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey is beginning to send troops into Libya in support of Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, days before a summit in Berlin which will address the Libyan conflict.

Speaking in Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey will continue to use all diplomatic and military means to ensure stability to its south, including in Libya.

Erdogan is due to meet leaders of Germany, Russia, Britain and Italy on Sunday to discuss the conflict.

He also said Turkey would start granting licenses for exploration and drilling in the eastern Mediterranean in 2020, in accord with a widely-deplored maritime agreement with the GNA.

He said Turkey's Oruc Reis ship would begin seismic activities in the region.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Thursday that the Berlin conference was "the best chance in a long time" for peace talks in Libya.

Maas was due to meet Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar in the eastern city of Benghazi days after meeting Sarraj.

"I hope that the parties will use this chance to take Libya's future back into Libyan hands," Maas said in Berlin before boarding his flight.

"For that, we need readiness for a real ceasefire and the participation of both warring parties in the dialogue format suggested by the United Nations."

Haftar and Sarraj were in Moscow early this week at talks aimed at finalizing a ceasefire orchestrated by Russia and Turkey.

But Haftar walked away without signing the permanent truce, sparking fears about the shaky ceasefire.

In his report to the UN Security Council late on Wednesday, UN chief Antonio Guterres urged all warring parties to stop fighting and "engage constructively towards that end, including within the Berlin process".

He also warned against "external interference", which he said would "deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a clear international commitment to a peaceful resolution of the underlying crisis".

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