Turkey may expand cooperation with Libya’s GNA beyond conflict – Erdoğan aide

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Ankara may expand its cooperation with Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) with energy and construction deals once the conflict in the North African country is over, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said on Sunday.

Kalın told Milliyet newspaper that Turkey could engage in further cooperation with Libya, just as Ankara does across many parts of the world, on condition of political stability in the war-torn country.

“From roads to bridges, hospitals, hotels, housing, we had a history (of construction projects in Libya) already. These stopped because of the war. A similar situation holds true for energy too,” Kalın said.

In December 2019, Turkey stepped up its support of the GNA, which has been fighting an offensive by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) to capture the capital Tripoli since April 2019.

Ankara has sent drones and other military hardware, along with thousands of Syrian mercenaries, many of whom have links to militant groups. Analysts maintain this has helped the Tripoli forces to take back in recent weeks almost all the territories around the Libyan capital previously captured by forces loyal to Haftar, backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt on Saturday proposed a ceasefire and new political plan in Libya, a declaration that has been welcomed by Haftar.

Haftar’s recent battlefield losses revealed him as an unreliable actor, whose “time was up,” Kalın said, adding that Ankara had information that the LNA’s backers were “looking into building a solution without Haftar.”

“They are all approaching the view of our president, including the United States,’’ Kalın said, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “There is a general lenience in the U.S. administration to form ties with Sarraj’s (GNA).”

Ahval

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