ANKARA/PARIS: Turkey on Wednesday dismissed Egypt’s proposal for a cease-fire in Libya, saying the plan aimed to save Khalifa Haftar after the collapse of his offensive to control the capital Tripoli, Hurriyet newspaper reported.
Turkey supports Fayez Al-Serraj’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), whose forces have in recent weeks repelled a 14-month assault on Tripoli by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), backed by the UAE, Egypt and Russia.
Egypt called for a cease-fire starting on Monday, as part of an initiative that also proposed an elected leadership council for Libya.
Russia and the UAE welcomed the plan, while Germany said UN-backed talks were key to the peace process.
However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dismissed the proposal as an attempt to save Haftar following the losses he suffered on the battlefield.
“The cease-fire effort in Cairo was stillborn. If a cease-fire is to be signed, it should be done at a platform that brings everyone together,” Cavusoglu told Hurriyet. “The cease-fire call to save Haftar does not seem sincere or believable to us.”
Cavusoglu said Turkey will continue talks with all parties for a solution in Libya, but that such a solution would require the agreement of both sides.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump discussed Libya in a call on Monday. Erdogan said the two agreed on “some issues” on Libya, and that the GNA would continue fighting to seize the coastal city of Sirte and the Jufra airbase further south.
Cavusoglu said Erdogan and Trump had delegated their foreign and defense ministers, intelligence chiefs and security advisers to discuss possible steps in Libya.
Meanwhile, the EU’s diplomatic chief and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy urged all parties to stop military operations immediately.
Signed by the EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell and Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, Heiko Mass of Germany and Luigi Di Maio of Italy, a statement urged “all Libyan and International parties to effectively and immediately stop all military operations.”
The European ministers also insisted on the need to “engage constructively in the 5+5 negotiations” in reference to a joint military commission that helped broker a cease-fire announced in Cairo.
The joint statement said the international efforts must include “the withdrawal of all foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment supplied in violation of the UN arms embargo from all regions of Libya.”