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Turkey’s Erdogan renews support for Libya’s UN-recognised govt

ISTANBUL (AFP) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday pledged that Turkey would continue to support Libya s UN-recognised government during closed-door talks in Istanbul, his office said.

Erdogan met with the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, for talks on the most recent developments in Libya as well as bilateral relations and regional matters.

During the meeting, Erdogan “stated that Turkey will continue to stand in solidarity with Libya s UN-recognised legitimate government, and reiterated that Turkey s priority is to restore Libya s stability, without further delay”, the presidency said.

Erdogan also said that “Libya s peace and stability would benefit its neighbours and the entire region, starting with Europe”, adding that “the international community ought to assume a principled stance in that regard”.

Since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising, Libya has been torn by violence, with its rival administrations vying for control and international forces militarily backing each.

Turkey backs the GNA against military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

Ankara signed security and maritime deals with the GNA last year and sent drones which turned the tide in the increasingly complex war and helped Sarraj s government make gains against Haftar s forces.

At the Istanbul talks, Erdogan and Sarraj also exchanged views on ways to strengthen their cooperation, together with steps to defend Turkey and Libya s rights in the eastern Mediterranean,” according to the Turkish presidency.

Turkey s maritime deal with Libya has angered Greece which says it violates international law.

Sunday s meeting coincided with talks in Morocco between delegates from Libya s rival administrations.

Last month, the two warring sides announced separately that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections, drawing praise from world powers after a series of fruitless initiatives in recent years to stop the conflict.

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