BY DAILY SABAH WITH AFP
Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah signed two deals with Türkiye’s defense minister on Tuesday, building on an agreement that was agreed in 2019.
Dbeibah’s administration posted a statement saying the deals included “implementation protocols for the security agreement” signed that year by authorities in Tripoli, who at the time were fending off a blistering assault by the eastern-based putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
Tuesday’s statement did not give further details.
Shortly afterward, the delivery of Turkish drones to Tripoli-based forces changed the course of the battle, winning them a victory over Haftar’s forces who were backed by Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Another deal signed by Dbeibah on Tuesday aims to “boost the capacity of Libya’s air force using Turkish expertise,” read the statement, accompanied by pictures of him with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
Dbeibah was in Türkiye to visit the SAHA Expo defense and aviation fair.
The latest deals come three weeks after Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu signed a deal in Tripoli allowing for oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.
That was also built on the 2019 deal, which demarcated the countries’ shared maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean to prevent any fait accompli by regional states.
The agreement was rejected by a rival administration in the war-torn country’s east, as well as neighboring Egypt, both of which argue that Dbeibah’s term as Libyan prime minister has expired.
Dbeibah’s government was installed in the capital Tripoli in the west of Libya as part of a United Nations-led peace process last year following the battle that had been sparked by Haftar’s attack on Tripoli.
That war was the last major round of violence in Libya’s long-running conflict which began following the 2011 overthrow and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, with myriad armed groups and foreign powers moving in to fill the power vacuum.
The country has since been plagued by divisions and today two rival administrations are vying for power: Dbeibah’s in the west and the government of former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, nominally backed by Haftar, in the east.
Türkiye has been a prominent backer of the Tripoli-based government. Ankara’s support for Tripoli’s previous Government of National Accord (GNA) helped turn the tide of Libya’s civil war.
For lasting stability, Türkiye deems the holding of free, fair, nationwide elections as soon as possible as crucial, in line with the aspirations of the Libyan people.