Turkey hosts trilateral talks with Qatar, Libya officials as Egypt approves potential intervention

Turkey hosts trilateral talks with Qatar, Libya officials as Egypt approves potential intervention
As Egyptian lawmakers approved the deployment of forces in Libya to counter 'threats faced by the state', Turkey hosted a meeting with defence ministers.
3 min read
21 July, 2020
Turkey and Qatar are the key backers of Libya's UN-recognised government [Getty]
The defence ministers of Turkey and Qatar were joined by the interior minister of the UN-recognised Libyan government on Monday for tripartite meetings in Ankara, Arabi21 report, the same day Egypt's parliament approved the deployment of its troops beyond its borders, after weeks of warnings from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's of military involvement in Libya.

Qatar's defence ministry confirmed talks were held between Minister Khalid Mohammed Al-Atiyyah and Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga in a statement posted on Twitter, noting it had covered the "latest developments" in Libya.

Al-Atiyyah held separate discussions with his Turkish counterpart, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, which addressed ways of strengthening bilateral relations and defence cooperation between the two countries.

"We want to express our thanks to Qatar for their genuine supported for Libya's legitimate government, and for their role in securing stability in the region" said Akar.

The meetings between the key state backers of Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) came the same day lawmakers in regional rival Egypt voted to greenlight the deployment of its forces to counter "threats faced by the state" from the west, alluding to Libya, the country with which it shares a porous desert border.

The vote took place in a legislature packed with Sisi's supporters, who unanimously approved the measures "to defend Egyptian national security... against criminal armed militias and foreign terrorist elements," a statement released by its parliament read.

Egypt, along with the United Arab Emirates and Russia, supports the head of Libya’s eastern-based government, rogue General Khalifa Haftar.

With the support of Turkish forces and drones, Libya’s GNA successfully repelled Haftar’s year-long offensive to take Tripoli in the country’s northwest last month.

Since then they have pushed eastwards towards Sirte, a strategic gateway into Libya’s oil crescent, the central regions that contains the North African country's major oil facilities.

Cairo believes that the GNA's sights on the city, located some 800 kilometers from the Egytian border, with Libya’s most important crude export terminals lying in between, is cause for direct military intervention.

Last week, Libya’s pro-Haftar eastern-based parliament gave in-principle support for Egyptian intervention.

Ankara and the GNA have called on Haftar to withdraw from the city and negotiate a ceasefire.

Monday’s talks between the GNA's allies were held in tandem with talks between Libyan, Maltese and Turkish officials, also held in Ankara on Monday, where participants urged for an "immediate" end for support for Haftar.

Read more: Turkey urges 'immediate' end to Haftar support in Libya

"It is essential that all kind of help and support given to putschist Haftar, which prohibits ensuring Libya's peace, tranquility, security and territorial integrity, ends immediately," Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

Haftar's backers should "stop supporting an unrealistic and wrong project," GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga said, according to a Turkish defence ministry translation.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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