By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Turkey has agreed to a Russian proposal on cooperating to end the war in Libya.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made the announcement at the Doha Forum and explained that Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed the two nations work cooperatively in Libya.
Çavuşoğlu commented that Turkey agreed with Putin, saying that Libya is not a ‘zone of competition’ between them.
The Turkish foreign minister did mention that there are differences between his country and Moscow on Libya but the minister said that both countries are on good terms with one another. Çavuşoğlu said this will provide for a productive working relationship on both sides.
One of the main issues that Turkey and Russia are certain to discuss are their differences between who backs which government.
While Turkey has stated it’s full support for the UN-UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) helmed by Libyan President Faiez Serraj – Russia purportedly supports self-styled military commander Khalifa Haftar who heads what he calls the Libya National Army (LNA).
The issue in any negotiation will be based on the fact that Haftar has attacked numerous infrastructure in Libya and in April attempted to invade Libya ‘s capital Tripoli. His forces have also attacked all the major airports in Libya resulting in only one airport currently in operation.
The self-styled commander also attacked hospitals, an equestrian school, civilian areas as well as refugee centers outside Tripoli. Haftar has repeatedly attempted to take Tripoli unsuccessfully due to government forces pushing back.
Meanwhile, on Monday, forces in five cities in eastern Libya fighting under the Government of National Accord – announced a mobilization to defend the capital Tripoli against a new offensive from Haftar.
On Monday, authorities in the cities of Kabaw, Zliten, Khoms, Msallata and Zawiya announced in a statement that they will support the UN-backed government and fight against Haftar forces. They called for coordination and cooperation against any attacks.
On December 12, Haftar announced that he ordered militants to launch a “defensive battle” against Tripoli.
To that end, the GNA launched a counter-offensive operation called Burkhan al-Ghadab or Volcano of Rage.
U.S. officials and their European counterparts sat down with Haftar a week ago urging him to halt military incursions and encouraging him to work toward a negotiated settlement – all to no avail.
Libya ‘s President previously said he can’t trust Haftar and refuses to negotiate with him. Serraj has valid reasons and cause for concern since Haftar has made repeated attempts to invade Tripoli.
Since the ouster and death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, a division of power in two separate regions of the country have emerged: Haftar forces in eastern Libya supported primarily by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the other in Tripoli which has UN support and international recognition.