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Dbeibeh, Erdogan Discuss Sending More Turkish Military Personnel to Libya

Dbeibeh, Erdogan Discuss Sending More Turkish Military Personnel to Libya

Sunday, 7 November, 2021 - 06:30
Turkish President Erdogan and Libya's Dbeibeh leave after a news conference in Ankara, Turkey April 12, 2021. Presidential Press Office/Handout via Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and head of the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNU) Abdulhamid Dbeibeh discussed ongoing preparations to hold the Libyan elections in December, as well as raising the number of Turkish military personnel in the north African country.

The two officials had met in Istanbul on Friday.

Turkish media quoted sources as saying Erdogan and Dbeibeh were worried about the security tensions in the country.

Libyan political sources had said that Dbeibeh may run for president and this possibility has been backed by the candidacy criteria spelled out by the electoral commission and which appeared tailored to the GNU chief. This means that the elections will be held on time.

Erdogan told Dbeibeh on Friday said Turkey will continue to back the GNU on all levels.

The officials reviewed the security and military cooperation and marine zones memoranda of understanding that were signed between Tripoli and Ankara under the GNU’s predecessor, the Government of National Accord.

They agreed that the GNU would submit a new official request to Ankara so that it could increase the number of consultative and military personnel in Tripoli. They also agreed that a new batch of Libyan security personnel would be sent to Turkey to receive training.

Sources speculated that Turkey wanted to increase the number of its personnel in Tripoli due to the growing demands that it withdraw its foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya before the elections.

The 5+5 Joint Military Commission met in Geneva in October and approved a plan for the gradual withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries.

It met again in Cairo last week, announcing that Sudan, Chad and Niger have expressed readiness to cooperate to pull out all their fighters from Libya.

Turkey, on the other hand, continued to fly out and in Syrian mercenaries. It did so a day after the Cairo talks concluded and after such flights had been halted for 15 days.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that some 150 mercenaries had returned to Syria, while another 150 were flown to Libya from Turkey.

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