Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

Erdogan says there is no military solution to Libya crisis

Turkish president held talks with Algerian leader in Algiers on Sunday

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria, January 26, 2020. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria, January 26, 2020. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said the Libyan crisis could not be solved by military means, after talks with Algerian leader Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers.

Algeria, which shares a 1,000-kilometre border with Libya, is trying to mediate a political settlement to the conflict gripping its neighbour, which threatens regional stability.

"We have said from the beginning that the Libyan crisis would not be resolved through military means," Mr Erdogan said after meeting the Algerian President.

"We are in intense negotiations with the countries of the region and with international actors to secure the ceasefire and facilitate the return to political dialogue in Libya."

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 Nato-backed uprising that killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with two rival administrations vying for power.

The conflict deepened last year when strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who controls much of the south and east of Libya, launched an assault in April to seize Tripoli, base of the Government of National Accord and allied militias.

Ankara has sent military aid to the GNA, while Algiers last week hosted a meeting of Libya's neighbours that rejected "any foreign interference" and called for a negotiated settlement.

Mr Tebboune said he was "in complete agreement" with Mr Erdogan after the Libya summit in Berlin last Sunday, when world players called for an end to foreign interference in Libya and a resumption of the peace process.

"We are working together for peace through daily and precise monitoring of all developments on the ground," he said.

The UN mission in Libya said weapons were pouring into the North African country in violation of a 2011 Security Council resolution, and despite commitments by the world powers in Berlin.

A truce went into effect in Libya on January 12 at Moscow and Ankara's initiative.

The Turkish president was accompanied to Algiers, the first leg of a tour of Africa, by a high-level business delegation.

During his 48-hour visit, Mr Erdogan is due to co-chair a business conference with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad, to bolster the economic partnership between the two countries in industry, tourism, agriculture and renewable energy.

Since 2017, Turkey has replaced former colonial power France as the top foreign investor in Algeria, with nearly 1,000 Turkish businesses established in the North African state.

In the first 11 months of 2019, Algerian-Turkish trade exceeded $4 billion, making Turkey the fifth largest trade partner with Algeria after China, France, Italy and Spain, official Algerian figures show.

Updated: January 26, 2020 11:24 PM

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