Turkey, Russia seek lasting cease-fire in Libya

Fighters loyal to the UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) secure the area of Abu Qurain, half-way between the capital Tripoli and Libya's second city Benghazi, against forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who is based in eastern Benghazi, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 23 July 2020

Turkey, Russia seek lasting cease-fire in Libya

  • The Turkish and Russian delegations will consider creating a joint working group on Libya

ANKARA: Turkish and Russian delegations met on Wednesday in Turkey’s capital to discuss the war in Libya and agreed to press ahead with efforts for a lasting cease-fire in the North African country, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said.

A joint statement released after the meeting said the sides — who back rival parties in the conflict — had agreed to work together and encourage Libya’s opposing factions to create “conditions for a lasting and sustainable cease-fire.” They also agreed to joint efforts to advance a political dialogue.

Turkish-backed forces allied with the UN-supported government in Tripoli, the capital, are mobilizing on the edges Sirte and have vowed to retake the Mediterranean city, along with the inland Jufra air base, from rival
forces commanded by Khalifa Haftar. Haftar’s forces are based in the east.

The Turkish and Russian delegations will consider creating a joint working group on Libya and were scheduled to hold more consultations in Moscow “in the near future,” according to the statement.

The meeting between Turkish and Russian officials comes amid heightened tensions between powers supporting the rival factions in the Libyan conflict.

This week, Egypt’s Parliament authorized the deployment of troops outside of the country in a move that threatened to escalate the spiraling war and bring Egypt and Turkey into a direct confrontation.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was later killed.

Drawn by Haftar’s anti-Islamist stance, foreign powers have provided his forces with critical military assistance. Russia has also emerged as a key supporter of Haftar, sending hundreds of mercenaries through the Wagner Group, a private military company.


Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

Updated 03 August 2020

Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

  • Nassif Hitti submits resignation to the prime minister and leaves government house without making any comments
  • Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Hassan Diab’s government

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister resigned on Monday, becoming the first Cabinet minister to defect from his post amid the severe economic and financial crisis striking the country.
Minister Nassif Hitti’s submitted his resignation to the prime minister and left the government house without making any comments.
A career diplomat, Hitti became foreign minister in January as part of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government. He was was reportedly unhappy with the government’s performance and lack of movement on promised reforms.
Local media reports said he also was angered by Diab’s criticism of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian following his visit to Beirut last month. Diab had said Le Drian “did not bring anything new” and was not properly informed about the reforms implemented by the Lebanese government.
It was not immediately clear whether his resignation would be accepted and whether one of the other ministers would assume his responsibilities in caretaker capacity until a new minister is appointed.
Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Diab’s government, which has struggled to implement reforms amid an unprecedented financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.