Turkish deals with Libya's Sarraj illegal: LNA

Yasser Seddiq , Saturday 4 Jul 2020

Fayez al-Sarraj (R), Prime Minister of Libya
Fayez al-Sarraj (R), Prime Minister of Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) receives Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (L), in the Libyan capital Tripoli on July 3, 2020. (AFP)

The new agreements Turkey concluded with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez Al-Sarraj are illegal, head of the Libyan National Army's (LNA) mobilisation department told Sky News Arabia on Saturday, adding the deals "dictate the will of one party over the other."

Brig. Gen. Khaled Al-Mahjoub confirmed the Libyan army's readiness to confront Turkish forces and their militias.

Turkey had agreed with Al-Sarraj to establish new training centres for militias in western Libya, after the visit of Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, the Chief of the General Staff Yasar Guler and a number of senior military officials to Tripoli on Friday.

Turkish media reported on Friday that the military delegation is in Libya to discuss activities carried out within the scope of the "memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation,” which was signed last year with the GNA.

However, Al-Mahjoub considered that a clause in the new agreement that calls for "protecting Al-Sarraj government," is an attempt by Turkey and its allied Brotherhood organisation to achieve their goals.

Turkey "seeks to raise the ceiling of demands and achieve the largest possible presence in Libya, especially in the western region, through agreements on (military) bases that give it legitimacy, and to use all of this in launching negotiations on Libya," Al-Mahjoub said, stressing that "all these arguments will not fool anyone.”

Al-Mahjoub said Ankara also aims, through this agreement, to "mobilise preparations" for a major battle in the western region of Libya, in which the forces of the LNA are stationed, especially in Sirte, declared by the LNA and Egypt as "a red line."

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi recently announced that any direct Egyptian intervention in Libya would have international legitimacy and confirmed that "Libya's Sirte and Al-Jufra are considered the red line for Egyptian national security."

Al-Mahjoub has also stressed that "The Libyan National Army is ready to face the Turkish ambitions, along with the Libyan people who have come to realise that Turkey is invading their country directly.”

Concerning the proposal to establish a new National Guard in Libya, Al-Mahjoub said that absorbing the militias within the so-called "National Guard" is nothing but "a recycling attempt by the Brotherhood to bypass the army, that they had a history of hostility towards, as it stood against their plans.”

The visit of the Turkish delegation and the agreement it concluded during the visit, came in conjunction with the intensification of international efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Libya. They both demonstrate that Ankara is seeking to prolong the conflict in the Arab country and blow up international endeavours.

Prior to the Turkish defence minister's visit, the head of the Turkish Naval Forces arrived in Tripoli, in a move Libyans see as attempts by Ankara to find a foothold in North Africa and control the capabilities of the Libyan people.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi and has been split since 2014 between rival administrations in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi.

 The east-based LNA is supported by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia. The western, Tripoli-based GNA, led by Al-Sarraj is supported militarily by Turkey, and receives support from Qatar and Italy.

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