Monday, May 3, 2021

Libya’s top diplomat calls on Turkey to withdraw foreign fighters

Libya’s top diplomat calls on Turkey to withdraw foreign fighters

Libya’s top diplomat has called for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from the North African country as it heads towards elections later this year.

Najla al-Manqoush, foreign minister of Libya’s interim government, urged Turkey on Monday to implement UN Security Council resolutions demanding the repatriation of more than 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya.

“We call on [Turkey] to take steps to implement all the provisions of … the Security Council resolutions and to cooperate together to expel all foreign forces and mercenaries from the Libyan territories,” al-Manqoush said.

Her remarks came at a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. He visited Tripoli along with Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and other top military and intelligence officials.

The remarks were seen as a rebuke to Turkey, which has deployed troops and Syrian mercenaries to fight along with Tripoli militias since forces of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to wrest control of the capital their attack in 2019.

Cavusoglu responded by saying that Turkish forces were in Libya as part of a training agreement that was reached with a previous Libya administration.

“We attach importance to preservation of Libya’s integrity, sovereignty, independence, and political unity,” he said.

“In the face of the attacks on Tripoli, the legitimate government of Libya invited some countries, including us. Only Turkey replied in the affirmative to this call,” he continued, saying there are some parties that sought to equal Ankara’s presence with that of foreign mercenaries that are in Libya for monetary gain...

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