Turkish troops to remain in Libya after initial deal ‘as long as request remains’

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Turkish soldiers will stay in Libya and provide education, health, humanitarian aid and consultancy support to the country as long as the Government of National Accord (GNA) continues to maintain its request, according to Turkish security sources.

“Turkish troops are deployed upon the invitation of the legitimate government of Libya, and we will continue to be there and provide support in education, health, humanitarian assistance and counseling in accordance with the agreement signed between Turkey and the legitimate government of Libya, as long as the request is in place,” Anadolu Agency quoted anonymous Turkish security sources as saying on Nov. 4.

Military officers from Libya’s warring parties have agreed on practical steps towards implementing a ceasefire agreement on Nov. 3, after a two-day meeting in the northwestern town of Ghadames.

During the meeting, a military sub-committee was formed to oversee the “return of military forces to their headquarters and withdrawal of foreign elements from military contact lines.”

Elaborating on the outcome of the meeting, sources said that Ankara supports the formation of an independent, sovereign and prosperous Libya.

Turkey aims for Libya’s territorial integrity, peace and stability, sources said, adding: “Turkey argues that the solution to the crisis in Libya passes through a political process that will be carried out between Libyans in line with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and that Libyans will embrace.”

Every step that is taken and positive developments in this direction are welcomed, and Turkey will continue to support Libya, said the sources.

“Our aim is to provide a sustainable ceasefire, lasting peace and stability in Libya, where we have 500 years of unity, common history, culture, understanding and beliefs,” sources noted.

The two-day talks in the oasis town of Ghadames, were the first face-to-face negotiations inside Libya since last year’s months-long attack on the capital by forces loyal to the east-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two sides agreed to meet again in the contested coastal city of Sirte later in November, and to form a sub-committee to oversee the return of all Libyan forces to their camps, as mentioned in the Oct. 23 cease-fire deal reached in Geneva, the U.N. support mission in Libya said late Nov. 3.

“This is the beginning of a process that is going to require determination, courage, confidence and a lot of work,” said the head of the mission, Stephanie Williams, who headed the Ghadames talks.

She said they have discussed in detail a monitoring mechanism to implement the cease-fire agreement, which includes the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from the oil-rich country within three months.

The agreement also called for “military deals on training inside Libya” to be frozen and for foreign trainees to leave the country. It did not name a particular country.

Turkey sent troops to Libya for counseling purposes over a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation signed with the U.N.-supported GNA government in the west.

Hurriyet Daily News

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