Saturday 16 January 2021
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Turkey and Russia divide the loot in Libya: EU and US further offside

The European Union calls on the warring parties in Libya to immediately end hostilities and to strictly comply with the UN arms embargo. "There is no military solution in Libya," said EU foreign chief Josep Borrell and the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain.

Tensions in Libya are now at warlord Khalifa Haftar, who is fighting the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, reported Monday that his troops have overrun Sirte. According to their own words, pro-government militias left the strategically important coastal city on Tuesday to prevent unnecessary bloodshed.

The Turkish plans to provide military aid to the Libyan government will only increase instability in the country. The conviction of Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the foreign minister of the European Union, Josep Borrel, comes one day after the first Turkish troops left for Libya.

President Erdogan received permission from the Turkish parliament last Thursday to send troops to Libya, including military experts and trainers. There Erdogan wants to help keep the Libyan capital Tripoli out of the hands of warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Since April, Haftar, supported by a Russian mercenary army, has been conducting an offensive against the UN-backed Libyan government. Earlier, similarly heavily armed Russian-speaking "men in green uniforms" appeared in conflicts in eastern Ukraine, Montenegro, and Transnistria. The Libisdche former general Haftar has now conquered most of Libya.

The battle entered a new phase on Monday after Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) took the strategically located northern port city of Sirte within three hours, partly as a salafist brigade fought for the government fled to Haftar and the Russians.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Erdogan visits his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Although they each support a different side of the Libyan conflict, they may conclude an agreement on Libya. The two countries play an increasing role in the Libyan civil war.

If Ankara and Moscow conclude a deal, then Europe and the United States may be sidelined in the negotiations, just as was the case in Syria after an agreement between Turkey and Russia.

On Friday, the 28 EU foreign ministers will look into further steps. They also talk about developments in Iran, which says they are withdrawing from the atomic agreement.

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