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Turkey, Russia agree to work on Libya ceasefire, consider joint working group

Reuters , Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 Jul 2020
FILE PHOTO - Presidents Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia hold a joint news conf
FILE PHOTO - Presidents Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia . (Reuters)

Turkey and Russia agreed at talks in Ankara to continue joint efforts to create conditions for a lasting and sustainable ceasefire in Libya and are considering the creation of a joint working group, a joint statement said on Wednesday.

The statement, published by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said Ankara and Moscow also agreed in the talks to facilitate the advancement of intra-Libyan political dialogue and called upon the parties to take measures ensuring safe humanitarian access and delivery of urgent assistance to those in need.

Forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA), who are supported by Turkey, are reportedly planning to launch an attack on the port city of Sirte and in Jufra, which has a major military airbase.

The GNA backed by Turkish troops, Syrian mercenaries and Qatar, is based in Tripoli and controls Libya’s western and northwestern areas. According to a recent report by the US Defense Department, Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 Syrian mercenaries to Libya fin the first three months of this year.

The Libyan National Army (LNA), allied with the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, controls Libya’s oil-rich, eastern regions. Egypt, France, Russia and the UAE back the LNA.

In June, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on Libyan parties “to respect the current lines and start negotiations.” El-Sisi said that Sirte and Jufra are "considered a red line for Egyptian national security."

He also said that Egypt has called for a comprehensive settlement in Libya that involves the elimination of terrorist militias and has participated in Libya-related international conferences.

On Monday, Egypt's parliament unanimously approved "sending elements of the Egyptian armed forces in combat missions outside the borders of the Egyptian state to defend the Egyptian national security in the western strategic front against the acts of criminal militias and foreign terrorist elements until the forces' mission ends." 

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