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Turkey May Not Send Forces to Libya if Haftar Halts Tripoli Offensive

Turkey May Not Send Forces to Libya if Haftar Halts Tripoli Offensive

Wednesday, 1 January, 2020 - 18:00
A fighter loyal to the GNA fires a heavy machine gun during clashes with the LNA on the outskirts of Tripoli. (Reuters)

Turkey may hold off from sending troops to Libya if the Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, halts its offensive against the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and pulls back, the Turkish vice president said on Wednesday.


The Turkish parliament is due to debate and vote on a bill mandating the deployment of military forces to Libya on Thursday after Fayez al-Sarraj’s GNA requested support as part of a military cooperation agreement.


“After the bill passed from the parliament...it might happen that we would see something different, a different stance and they would say “okay, we are withdrawing, dropping the offensive”,” Fuat Oktay said in an interview with Andalou news agency. “Then, why would we go there?”


Oktay also said that Ankara hoped the Turkish bill would send a deterrent message to the warring parties.


Ankara has already sent military supplies to the GNA despite a United Nations embargo, according to a UN report seen by Reuters, and has said it will continue to support it.


In November, Ankara signed a security and military cooperation deal and also inked a maritime jurisdiction agreement with the GNA.


The moves have drawn the ire of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece.


Egypt, in a letter sent to the United Nations last week, said it considers the agreements "void and without legal effect", adding that foreign military involvement in Libya amounted to a violation of a UN arms embargo.


The Arab League called Tuesday for efforts to "prevent foreign interference" in Libya.


On Monday, the UN's Libya envoy, Ghassan Salame, said the deals signed by Turkey and the GNA represented an "escalation" of the conflict wracking the North African country.


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