NEWS

Tripoli seeks Turkish military backing, prompting US, Egypt objections

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Diplomacy, Turkey

The activation by Libya’s Tripoli-based government of a deal with Turkey that foresees military assistance by Ankara has placed major powers, not least Washington, on edge regarding its regional ramifications. 

In a statement, the US State Department urged all countries to “refrain from exacerbating civil conflict.” 

“External actors must stop fueling conflict. All countries must refrain from exacerbating civil conflict and support a return to the [United Nations]-facilitated political process,” a State Department spokesperson said in a written response to a question by Hellas Journal. 

The spokesperson said, “The outcome should be the launch of intra-Libyan dialogue, de-escalation and withdrawal of external forces.” 

The prospect of Turkish troops deploying in Libya has also caused jitters in the Gulf states and placed Cairo on alert, with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi reportedly telling his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday in a telephone conversation that Ankara is destabilizing the region. 

According to the Middle East Monitor website, in response to Turkey’s move, the Egyptian government has decided to back the forces of Khalifa Haftar that are laying siege to Tripoli with Russian-made tanks.

Meanwhile, referring to the memorandum between Libya and Turkey demarcating maritime borders in violation of Greece’s sovereignty, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Ankara “is involved in a fight that it cannot win.”

Wrapping up a regional tour to drum up support for Greece’s position, Dendias told reporters on Thursday in Amman, Jordan that “we will continue our efforts, we will continue with seriousness and moderation to explain our position, and I think we will succeed in the end.”

Dendias was to visit Rome on Fridayfor talks with his Italian counterpart Luigi di Mayo. However, their meeting was postponed until the beginning of the new year, so that consultations can be held between Greek and Italian experts on the possibility of converting the existing 1977 continental shelf agreement between the two countries into one demarcating their exclusive economic zones.

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