Turkey says no Libya ceasefire unless Haftar retreats

Turkey says no Libya ceasefire unless Haftar retreats
Date: 12.7.2020 14:00

Turkish Foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says Haftar must withdraw from key regions.

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The UN-backed Libyan government will agree to a ceasefire to end the conflict in the north African state only if Khalifa Haftar withdraws his forces from key central and western regions, Turkey’s foreign minister has said.
Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Financial Times there was a “determination” within the Tripoli-based administration, which is militarily backed by Turkey, to resume its offensive against Haftar’s forces if they do not retreat from Sirte, a strategic port city, and Jufra, home to a large air base in the centre of the country.
He hinted that Ankara may support any offensive, describing the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord’s “preconditions” as “legitimate and reasonable”.
His comments underline the threat that the conflict in Libya, which has morphed into a proxy war, could enter a new phase even as diplomats warn that an escalation would risk triggering a direct confrontation between foreign powers backing rival Libyan factions.
Turkey openly intervened in Libya at the request of the GNA and after securing an agreement that could enable Ankara to explore for oil and gas off Libya’s coast. Ankara’s deployment of air defence systems, warships, weapons, military advisers, trainers and troops, including Syrian militias, to support the GNA dramatically shifted the balance of the 15-month conflict this year.
Cavusoglu said there was an investigation to determine who was responsible, but vowed that whoever it was “will pay”. Turkey had “trainers and technical staff” at the base, which Turkish-backed forces captured from Haftar in May, but none were harmed, he added.


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