Erdogan says reached ‘agreements’ with Trump over Libya
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-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and has stepped up military support to Tripoli against warlord Khalifa Haftar.
The United States 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, indicating the significance of Moscow in the Libyan conflict, Erdogan said he would need to also hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discuss what steps could be taken regarding Libya.
Russia has been accused of sending several thousand mercenaries from private Russian security company Wagner to support Haftar, accusations the Kremlin denies.
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 defence systems, inflict a series of battlefield setbacks in recent weeks on Haftar’s forces who have been fighting to take Tripoli since April last year.
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.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticised the flow of weapons into Libya and urged a ceasefire during a call with Sarraj.
Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
But the latest phase of the conflict began after Turkey signed security and maritime agreements with Libya’s GNA late last year.
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