Damascus says to exchange consular missions with Libya’s Haftar

Damascus says to exchange consular missions with Libya’s Haftar
A delegation representing eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (picture) in Damascus. (File/AFP)
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Updated 01 March 2020

Damascus says to exchange consular missions with Libya’s Haftar

Damascus says to exchange consular missions with Libya’s Haftar
  • Libya has not had any representation in Damascus since 2012
  • Both sides also pledged to coordinate to ‘confront Turkish interference and aggression against both countries’

DAMASCUS: Damascus and parallel Libyan authorities opposed to the weak UN-recognized government in Tripoli agreed Sunday to exchange diplomatic missions and confront Turkish “interference,” state media said.
A delegation representing eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in Damascus, state news agency SANA said.
“A memorandum of understanding was signed... for the reopening of diplomatic and consular missions,” SANA said.
Libya has not had any representation in Damascus since 2012, following the fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising.
Muallem said diplomatic missions would be reopened in Damascus and the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, controlled by Haftar’s forces.
The two sides also pledged to coordinate to “confront Turkish interference and aggression against both countries.”
The agreement comes as tensions spiral between Syrian regime and Turkish forces in northwestern Syria, where bombardment has killed dozens of troops on each side.
Turkey backs the Government of National Accord in the Libyan capital Tripoli, and has dispatched troops and pro-Turkish Syrian fighters to the North African country.
Haftar, backed by the Syrian regime’s main ally Russia, has been battling since April to seize Tripoli from the GNA.
Syria’s conflict, sparked by the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011, has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions.
The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011 as the death toll mounted. Several regional powers, betting on the demise of President Bashar Assad’s regime, suspended diplomatic ties with Damascus.
Some have since restored those ties. In December 2018, the United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy, followed by Bahrain.