THE STORIES BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Abu Dhabi

London

New York

Thu, 23 Jan 2020 04:30 GMT

LNA Welcomes Putin's Initiative against Militias, Turkish Interference in Libya

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London

Sat, 11 Jan 2020 15:20 GMT

The spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA) in eastern Libya has welcomed Russian diplomatic efforts with other allies to stop the Turkish military expansion scheme in Libya, which has been condemned by both the international community, and according to surveys, by the Turkish people.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) works with the Libyan Parliament in East Libya to coordinate actions to halt the terrorist and insurgent operatives backed by Fayez al-Sarraj's government in Tripoli.

The General Command of the LNA “conditionally” welcomed the ongoing initiative of President Putin aimed at establishing peace and achieving stability in Libya, stressing that it is also the goal of LNA.

In a statement from its official LNA spokesperson, Major General Ahmed al-Mesmari on Friday January 10th, General Command confirmed the continued efforts of LNA forces in their war against terrorist groups as classified by Security Council resolutions, which it claims prove through experience that there is no way to establish a civil state except by eliminating those groups.

States and governments supporting terrorist groups in Tripoli are transporting large numbers of terrorists from all over the world to fight against LNA forces and the Libyan people, LNA General Command stated.

As a result, the LNA has issued an order for the Ports and Maritime Transport Authority, to announce internationally the banning of ships from sailing to the five ports of Misrata. The decision has been taken in order to halt arms and mercenary smuggling operations through the border crossings under the control of al-Sarraj's government in Tripoli.

In the same context, amid the regional and international diplomatic efforts to contain the conflict in Libya, comes Putin's ongoing initiative to de-escalate the tension in Libya. He is holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on the afternoon of Saturday January 11th, to discuss the Libyan situation among other issues.

Putin visited Syria and Turkey last week and is keen to showcase his role as a regional powerbroker.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is attending the talks between Putin and Merkel, said earlier that the “key reason” for the meeting was the escalating crisis in Libya, where Germany is acting as a mediator in a conflict, he has warned could become a “second Syria”.

“We are involving Europe and those players who are influential there, and for that we need Russia,” Maas told Germany’s NTV television, “For us, it’s not too far to fly to Moscow to discuss that with Putin.”

Merkel is to invite Putin to a Berlin conference on Libya later this month, according to diplomatic sources.

After Turkey’s decision to involve itself in the Libyan conflict, circulated reports confirmed that the Turkish regime started deploying troops to Libya last week. Informed sources confirmed that the bodies of three Turkish soldiers arrived in Turkey after they had been killed in Libya, making them the first Turkish fatalities in that country.

The sources said the bodies of the Turkish soldiers arrived at Misrata Airport, where a special Turkish plane transported them on Friday January 10th to their homeland, according to Turkish Ahval News. It is not yet known where the Turkish soldiers were killed.

Turkey supports the armed militias with weapons, ammunition, drones, and military experts. It also sends mercenaries from Syria to help the militias in their fight against the LNA.

International observers said that the arrival of the bodies of the Turkish soldiers triggered a surge of anger in Turkish political and social circles and opened a debate about President Erdoğan’s ambitions in Libya.

Turkish political parties and citizens have previously warned against sending Turkish soldiers to Libya, as they confirmed that this could end in disaster for Turkey, but the parliament, which is dominated by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), approved the memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to send Turkish soldiers to Libya.

According to a recent survey, more than 1,500 people across 12 provinces took part in a poll, conducted by the market research firm İstanbul Ekonomi Araştırma (İEA), 58% of respondents said they disapproved of any troop deployment to the war-torn country. Only 34% were in favour of the deployment. Can Selçuki, general manager of İEA, said that the majority of people failed to see any benefit in sending Turkish troops to Libya.

Libyan intervention also divides the ruling AKP and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Only 61.8% of AKP voters considered the deployment of forces to Libya as a necessity, while 45% of the MHP voters are against the military presence in Libya.


Middle East Russia