Libya: Turkey and France Accuse Each Other of Breaking Cease Fire

  • France accuses Turkey of transferring Syrian paramilitary forces to Libya.
  • Turkey has repeatedly identified France as the main cause of the Libyan crisis.
  • Russia intends to meet with Haftar to resume talks on a permanent ceasefire.

Less than two weeks after the Libyan conference in Berlin, French President Emmanuel Macron has sharply criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to Macron, Turkey has broken its promise not to interfere in the affairs of the troubled North African state. The French president views the issue as a “clear violation” of what was agreed in Berlin.

Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj is the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya that was formed as a result of the Libyan Political Agreement signed on 17 December 2015.

The two countries and international organizations attending the meeting pledged to abide by the Libyan arms embargo, and to not interfere in Libya’s civil conflict. Alongside this, it was determined that the current ceasefire should be sustainable, which was one of the objectives of the countries participating in the conference for Libya.

After meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Paris, Macron spoke of observing Turkish ships accompanying Syrian mercenaries to Libya. Mr Macron called Turkey’s actions “detrimental to the security of all Europeans and Sahelians”. The Turkish government supports Fayez al-Serraj, head of the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Earlier in January, Erdogan had approved sending troops to Tripoli. Syrian-backed troops are also in Libya, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. This information has not been confirmed by Turkish officials so far.

Turkey’s Mutual Accusations Against France

Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar is a Libyan-American military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which, under Haftar’s leadership, replaced nine elected municipal councils by military administrators, and as of May 2019, was engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War.

Last night, Turkey responded to the French President’s accusations with a cross-examination. The Turkish Foreign Ministry accused France in a statement. “The main (actor) responsible for the problems in Libya since the crisis started in 2011 is France,” foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement. The statement added that “It’s no secret that this country has given unconditional support” to military strongman Khalifa Haftar, “in order to have a say regarding natural resources in Libya.”

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya announced last Saturday that the arms embargo, imposed at the Libyan conference held in Berlin, has been broken by several countries participating in the conference. Since then, according to the organization, several flights have landed at airports west and east of Libya carrying weapons, soldiers, and military advisers since then. There is no mention of the countries that transport this equipment.

On the other hand, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said that despite some limited clashes, the cease-fire in Libya is still ongoing, and Russia intends to meet with Haftar to resume talks on a permanent ceasefire. Political analyst Abdul Qader Amshali says recent statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry mean that the Libyan crisis is back, and Moscow is trying to restart ceasefire negotiations.

Numerous regional and international meetings have been held so far in Moscow, Berlin, and Algeria to end the war in Libya. Another meeting to resolve the Libyan crisis is scheduled for February 9 in the Brazilian capital, and Russia will attend.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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