Erdoğan to visit Libya in two days - report
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Libya in two days, Arab News reported, citing Libyan media on Wednesday.
In Libya, Turkey is the main backer of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) against Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), which is supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Turkey deployed military forces to Libya in January last year after the GNA requested assistance under a defence pact. Ankara has also provided Syrian mercenaries to prop up the GNA. However, the ceasefire agreement signed in last October calls all foreign troops and mercenaries out of the country, while Turkey says the presence of its military forces were under a training agreement reached with the previous government.
Libya’s interim government, the Government of National Unity of Libya (GNU) which has replaced the GNA to run the war-torn Northern African country until the elections which is scheduled for December, also said that it expected military forces to withdraw.
Officials including the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council who gathered in Berlin in June to discuss plans for the elections and the complete implementation of the ceasefire agreement, also agreed on a gradual process of withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya, to ensure a peaceful transition.
Syrian mercenaries recruited by Russia are also reportedly in Libya as well to fight alongside the LNA. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), another supporter of the LNA, is also accused of sending mercenaries from Sudan to battle in Libya.
Previously, the United Nations released a report that estimated 20,000 foreign mercenaries were present in Libya at the end of 2020.
Turkey who also signed economic deals with the GNA, has sent a high-level delegation led by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Libya in June, upon the instruction of Erdoğan.
Erdoğan who had visited Libya in September 2011 as a prime minister, received the country’s interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh in August in Istanbul.