The UN says the “last thing” Libya needs is more conflict on its territory, after Egypt warned of military intervention in the neighboring country.
Paris and Tunis called on the parties in Libya to respect their commitments to relaunch negotiations within the framework of the United Nations.
“France and Tunisia together demand that the belligerents cease fire and keep their commitment to resume negotiations within the framework of the United Nations to restore security for all, bring together the Libyan institutions and begin reconstruction for the benefit of all Libyans” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday. .
At a joint press conference after his meeting with Tunisian President Kays Said at the Elysee Palace, Macron said he had the opportunity to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Ankara’s role in Libya.
Ankara supports the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in the conflict against Khalifa Haftar, a renegade warlord backed by Paris, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Moscow.
Turkey’s role against French interests
Ankara’s role, Macron said, threatened the interests of Libya, its neighbors, the whole region and also Europe.
“I have already had the opportunity to say very clearly to President Erdogan, I consider that Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya today and is going against all of its commitments made at the Berlin conference,” Macron said.
Naval incident proves NATO ‘brain death’
Macron also referring to a standoff between France and Turkey off the coast of conflict-torn Libya was evidence of the “brain death” of the NATO military alliance.
“I refer you to my statements at the end of last year, on NATO brain death, I consider that this is one of the best demonstrations (of that) … when you have two members of NATO “at an impasse,” he said.
Last week, France denounced an “extremely aggressive” intervention by Turkish ships against a French navy vessel participating in a NATO mission in the Mediterranean, a claim rejected by Ankara as “unfounded”.
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Trump-Macron phone call on Libya
Macron, who spoke by telephone with US President Donald Trump earlier on Monday about the crisis in Libya, briefly condemned the role of Russian mercenaries in Libya, but focused primarily on Ankara’s role.
The White House said the two leaders agreed on the urgent need for a ceasefire in Libya and an early resumption of negotiations by the Libyan parties.
Trump and Macron reiterated that the military escalation by all parties must stop immediately to prevent the Libyan conflict from becoming even more dangerous and intractable.
On the other side, the head of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) met on Monday with the Prime Minister of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya to discuss an end to hostilities in the torn country. the war.
“As part of the consultations on developments in Libya, (Prime Minister) Fayez al Sarraj met with General Stephen Townsend and US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland on Monday,” the GNA said in a statement.
The United States also issued a statement regarding the meeting calling for “a pause in military operations by all parties” in conflict-torn Libya.
The US visit came days after AFRICOM said it had evidence that Russian military planes were active in Libyan airspace using the Joufra and Sirte air bases east of the capital.
The intervention of Egypt
Asked about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi suggesting he has the right to intervene in Libya, Macron said the Egyptian leader had reason to be concerned.
“You have noted President Sisi’s legitimate concern when he sees troops arriving at his border,” Macron said.
It is not known that the Turkish-backed forces are operating near the Egyptian border.
Earlier Sunday, the Libyan government called the Egyptian president’s threat of military intervention a “declaration of war.”
“The statements of the Egyptian president [Sisi], who harass Libya’s sovereignty and interfere in its internal affairs, and support coup plotters, militias and mercenaries in Libya are unacceptable, ”the government press office said in a statement.
Libyan government backed by UN boycots Arab League talks
The Libyan High Council of State also warned the Egyptian army on Monday against a high-stakes military bet in this conflict-ridden country.
“We urge the Egyptian military not to get drawn into a bet, the fate of which will be similar to previous bets like that of Yemen,” the Libyan council said in a statement.
Turkey rejects Sisi’s statements
Egypt’s warning that it could intervene directly in neighboring Libya will not deter Turkey from backing its Libyan allies, a senior Turkish official said on Monday.
“Sisi’s statements have no basis,” the Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “Turkey and Libya will not back down from their determination.”
“Sisi has neither the power nor the courage to attempt this,” said the Turkish official.
UN says ‘last thing’ Libya needs is foreign intervention after Egyptian threat
The UN said on Monday that the “last thing” Libya needs is more conflict on its territory, after Egypt warned of military intervention in the neighboring country.
“It is clear that the last thing Libya needs right now is more fighting, more military mobilization, more arms transfers, more presence of foreign fighters or mercenaries on its soil,” said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric during his daily press conference.
“We are alarmed by the continued military mobilization in central Libya, in particular in Sirte,” and by the “flagrant violations of the arms embargo,” Dujarric said.
He added that it was “important that neither side does anything that would make the situation worse.”
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Italy, Germany, US call for ceasefire in Libya after Egyptian threat
Italy, Germany and the United States pushed for a ceasefire and de-escalation of tensions in Libya on Monday following a warning from Egypt that it would intervene militarily if Libyan forces of the GNA attacked the strategic city of Sirte.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and his German counterpart Heiko Maas said after talks in Rome that a ceasefire was urgent given the Egyptian threat. Di Maio also called for the swift appointment of a new UN envoy and the strict implementation of a UN arms embargo against Libya.
“If we stop the arrival of weapons, or if we reduce them sharply, we can reduce the aggressiveness of the Libyan parties in this conflict,” said Di Maio.
Conflict in Libya
Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a West-backed civil war toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed.
The country has since become a turmoil that has led to the emergence of non-centralized powers in the country.
Haftar’s militias, made up of regional and Russian mercenaries, launched an offensive to take Tripoli in April last year.
In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar to counter attacks on the capital and recently regained strategic locations including Tarhuna, Haftar’s last stronghold in western Libya.
Ankara’s intervention in Libya resulted in a sudden shift in the frontlines this month as Libyan forces pushed back Haftar’s militias and his allies from much of northwestern Libya towards the central coastal city from Sirte.
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj and warlord Khalifa Haftar have resumed ceasefire talks, but the United Nations, which is negotiating their talks, warned of a possible major escalation due to the flow of arms and fighters in Libya despite an arms embargo.
The Libyan army recently inflicted heavy blows on Haftar and freed Tarhuna, in addition to other strategic locations, including the Al Watiya air base, from its militias.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies