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Turkey's Defense Minister Flies to Libya

Turkey's Defense Minister Flies to Libya

Saturday, 26 December, 2020 - 09:30
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. Reuters file photo

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar travelled to Libya on Saturday flanked by top military officers to inspect Turkish units in the country, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

The unscheduled visit comes after Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Haftar called on his fighters to "drive out" Turkish forces backing the Government of National Accord, as talks drag on to end the long-running war.

The sides struck a ceasefire agreement in October formally ending the fighting and setting the stage for elections at the end of next year.

But Haftar said there would "be no peace in the presence of a colonizer on our land," in an address to mark Libya's 69th anniversary of its independence on Thursday.

The Turkish parliament this week adopted a motion extending the deployment of soldiers in Libya by 18 months.

"We will take up arms again to bring about peace with our own hands,” said Haftar.

“The colonizing enemy has one of two choices: either to leave peacefully or to be driven out by force,” he added.

The UN Support Mission in Libya seized the same national occasion to urge Libya's rivals to observe the ceasefire and respect the political roadmap that envisages the holding of national elections in December 2021.

“While the Mission calls on Libyans to consolidate their efforts and take courageous steps towards national reconciliation, and to look forward to a bright future for all Libyans to live in peace and prosperity, it affirms its full commitment to assisting the Libyan people in building their unified state,” a UNSMIL statement issued Thursday said.

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