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Europe to face new threats if Libya govt falls, Turkey key for peace, Erdoğan says


Jan. 18, 2020

With the peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis on the agenda for a second time this week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday that Turkey was key to peace in the war-weary country, warning Europe of the threat of an escalation in the conflict.
Erdoğan's remarks came ahead of Sunday's Berlin conference on Libya in an article he penned for U.S.-based Politico website titled "The road to peace in Libya goes through Turkey."
"It would be a mistake of historic proportions to leave Libya at the mercy of a warlord," Erdoğan said, referring to the leader of eastern Libyan forces, putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
Erdoğan warned Europe that it could face new threats if it fails to back Libya's U.N.-recognized government, the Government of National Accord (GNA).
"EU's potential failure to adequately support Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) would be a betrayal of its own core values, including democracy and human rights," Erdoğan said.
''Moreover, Europe would encounter a fresh set of problems and threats if Libya's legitimate government were to fall,'' he added. Erdoğan went on the say that: "The obvious choice for Europe is to work with Turkey" as it is not much interested in providing military support to Libya.
Turkey will train Libya's security forces and help them fight terrorism, human trafficking and other grave threats against global security, he added.
If Libya's legitimate government were to fall, Erdoğan said terrorist groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaida "will find a fertile ground to get back on their feet."
On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by Turkish and Russian leaders, although further talks came to no avail on Monday after Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.
Germany is set to host a major peace conference on Libya that will seek a stronger commitment from regional actors for a cease-fire in the war-torn country to pave the way for a political solution.
Stressing that the EU needed to show the world that it is "a relevant actor in the international arena," Erdoğan said: "The upcoming peace conference in Berlin is a very significant step toward that goal."
Chancellor Angela Merkel invited leaders from Turkey, Russia, the U.S., China, France, the U.K. and other regional actors for a one-day conference in Berlin, amid a fragile cease-fire between Libya's internationally recognized government and forces loyal to Haftar.
At the meeting, Germany and the U.N. will push rival Libyan camps fighting over the capital, Tripoli, to agree to a truce and monitoring mechanism as first steps towards peace, diplomats and a draft communique said.
Sunday's summit will put pressure on Haftar and the LNA to halt a nine-month offensive against Tripoli after a week-long lull in fighting. But it will not attempt to broker a power-sharing deal between the two sides, said diplomats briefed on preparations.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the U.N. and international recognition.
The GNA led by Fayez al-Sarraj has been under attack since April from Haftar's forces, with fighting killing over 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters.
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